Page 1



Loving your: Big Butt Thunder Thighs Juicy Self


Yogis Who Inspire

My Real Yoga Body


dropping judgment =

finding freedom

redefining YOUR beauty Yoga at the White House Inspiring Female Athletes

Cokehead Turned Yogi

MINDFULNESS: Deepak Chopra • Wayne Dyer • Eckhart Tolle • Sakyong mipham

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


True Wellness For All OUR VISION is to be a Vehicle of Consciousness in the global market by creating a holistic sustainable business modality, which inspires, promotes and supports True Wellness and respect for all beings and for Mother Nature.

organic india usa •

5311 Western Ave., Suite 110 • Boulder, CO 80301 ~ 888-550-8332

MC Yogi & Amanda Giacomini Live: Point Reyes Station, California Cofounders: Yoga Toes Studio Creator: Yoga inspired hip hop ( Artist & Illustrator ( Mission: To share our love with the world through yoga, music and art. Mat: Jade


Great grip. Earth friendly.

Nature’s Best Yoga Mat

JUNE 12 – 15, 2014 Yoga + Music + Boulder, CO

A Yoga Festival for the Modern Lifestyle


Music By: Xavier Rudd & Trevor Hall

Photo By: TonyFelgueiras

Yoshi Aono Founder, Hanuman Festival

Kathryn Budig Interview with

Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive? Kathryn Budig: The sight of my dogs’ tails wagging, a surprise hug while cooking from my fiancé, the light turn on behind someone’s eyes when they finally get a challenging pose in my class. YA: What makes you feel vulnerable?


Festival June 12-15, 2014 • Boulder, CO

YA: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? KB: I make at least 20 minutes a day for myself, whether it’s a yoga practice, meditation, or shutting the door and having time for myself. Making peace with the lack of routine has been huge for me. Every day is different and I’m okay with that. I practice staying open to change.

KB: Social media! Sharing my life with thousands of people I don’t know and being open to both their supportive and negative comments.

YA: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life?

YA: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

KB: Share as much love as you can, but be okay when people can’t return it. Others’ opinions don’t need to alter your mission, so stay strong to what makes your heart beat.

KB: You’re not getting out of this life alive, so you might as well make every moment count! Stop fearing and start loving. It’s really the answer to all your problems.

YA: What truth do you know for sure? KB: That love trumps all in the end.

YA: How do you handle emotional pain? KB: I put things into perspective. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the situation instead of looking at the big picture, which is often so amazing. Pain isn’t permanent, it’s a temporary teacher, so I listen, absorb, and move on.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Kathryn is an international yoga teacher whose home base is She authored The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga, is a Women’s Health and Yoga Journal contributor, Under Armour athlete, foodie, adventurer, Poses for Paws founder and lover of her dogs.

PhotoS: Andrew Cebulka

Yoshi Aono Founder, Hanuman Festival Interview with

Tiffany Cruikshank Hanuman Festival • June 12-15, 2014 • Boulder, CO • Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive? Tiffany Cruikshank: Sharing my passion for yoga and holistic health and watching people light up. There’s nothing more rewarding to me than to see people start to unlock their potential. Even when I’m tired or not feeling well, when I’m finished teaching everything shifts. I always leave knowing this is what I was created to do in the world. I really love training teachers too because it’s where I can pull in my experience in medicine and holistic health and fuse it with my love of yoga, which is where it all comes together for me. My most exciting project at the moment is my new project, called Yoga Medicine.

YA: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? TC: Choose love!

YA: What makes you feel vulnerable? TC: I think any time we share ourselves and our passion we make ourselves vulnerable, but it’s also when we open ourselves up to love. We have the choice to play it safe and not be vulnerable or to open our heart and be exposed to fully experience love. I’ll happily risk heartache for love.

YA: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? TC: Meditation is my center; it grounds me like nothing else and with my constantly changing schedule it isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. I’m actually quite a homebody and I love my routines, but more than anything, I love teaching, so it works. To stay grounded on

YA: How do you handle emotional pain? TC: I’m actually an introvert when it comes to processing things. I have to go inward and look it in the eye and really experience it to the fullest before it softens its grip on me. For me, meditation is my tool for creating the space to process and let go in order to move on. It’s really difficult, but it provides a deep look into my soul. I believe the things that stir us are the things that contain the biggest potential for transformation in our lives.

We have the choice to play it safe and not be vulnerable or to open our heart and be exposed to fully experience love. I’ll happily risk heartache for love.”

the road, I need some constants and for me that’s meditation, yoga, and greens powder. YA: What’s been one of the biggest lessons so far in your life? TC: Wow, so many. I feel like these past couple years have been full of lessons for me. It’s been hard but very informative. I’ve learned so much about myself and I’m so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. YA: What truth do you know for sure? TC: Just when I think I know something for sure, I learn more. I think we are the smartest when we open ourselves up to not knowing.

An international yoga teacher, author and health and wellness expert, Tiffany is known as a teacher’s teacher and has written for and graced the cover of many prominent publications. She is internationally acclaimed due to her ability to combine over two decades of dedicated yoga practice and study in Holistic Medicine with over a decade working with patients. Yoga Medicine is a thorough, anatomically based training system developed by Tiffany that informs and trains teachers all over the world to work more powerfully with their students.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM





PHOTO: Fiona doing the Marathon des Sables in 2012 – the toughest foot race on the planet, being some 154 miles across the Sahara Desert and requiring self-sufficiency for 6 days.

F ION A O A K ES E l i t e Ma r at h o n R u n n e r , U lt r a Ma r at h o n R u n n e r What inspires me to run is what inspires me to live — the opportunity to help others through my actions. Our life choices should not be assessed on what is best for us, but on what is best for others. I have cared for around 350 rescued animals for over 20 years and, as a lifelong advocate of a plant-based diet, I started running 15 years ago to show that my diet was not prohibitive. In 2013, I broke three marathon world records and am the fastest woman ever to run a marathon on every continent plus the North Pole!” Fiona Oakes was born in Chesterfield, educated at Oxford, and now lives in Essex with her partner, Martin, and around 350 rescued animals. She has been vegan all of her adult life.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Photos: Sherry Sutton Photography




How Cycling


Fuels My Fire Megan Hottman

find cycling to be truly inspiring. Not always easy, often challenging and sometimes heartbreaking, each ride, each adventure, each race, each new road, trail or terrain inspires me. I am inspired because no one ever truly masters it all when it comes to cycling. It is a continual test. No matter who you are or where you have ridden, cycling challenges and humbles all of us. I find the life-change possible with two wheels to be so motivational. The cycling lifestyle changes people, making us healthier, stronger, more resilient and more confident. I love looking back on a truly gritty moment on my bike (often in the dark throes of a bike race) and saying to myself, “If you could do THAT you can definitely do ____.” Cycling has tested my mettle over the years and I love what it has made me. Megan Hottman is an attorney who represents cyclists. She has been riding and racing her bike for over a decade. She has competed in road, track, cyclocross and mountain bike events, but more importantly, she’s made it her personal mission to get more people (especially women) on bikes. Her motto is “changing lives and communities one cyclist at a time.”

PhotoS: Chad Maurer (White jersey) Dejan Smaic (Blue jersey) M A N T R A M A G . C OM


BY Terry and Tina Shorter

Each of Us Needs Both of Us xercising as a couple for over 15 years has been our most enjoyable daily ritual and proves that the old adage, “A couple that plays together, stays together,” remains strong and true. When we think about fulfilling our very own basic needs as human beings — Certainty, Variety, Significance, Connection, and Growth — for us, it also pertains to working out with a partner. Whether you are just starting out to lose some weight or sculpting your body for a big competition, fulfilling these needs with the support of a partner will have a huge impact on your personal fitness success.

Certainty When you design a plan and commit to putting it into action together, the desired outcome and results become far more certain because of that commitment.

Variety Two heads are always better than one, especially when it relates to keeping engaged and interested in your workout regimen. The conversations, motivational inter-

jections, and even the types of exercises you each want to do will spice things up, which makes the experience more enjoyable and the time go by much faster.

check your form, encourage you to do “just one more rep,” or even to simply show up.

even spiritual. Besides, it looks silly to give yourself a high five when you’ve accomplished a goal.




Working together toward a common cause, creating similar habits, overcoming obstacles, and experiencing success creates an immense sense of closeness. This type of union is more powerful than just the physical connection. It can be psychological or, at times,

A workout partner will not only help you with the growth of muscles in the gym, but over time, your partner can also help develop good habits, improve tenacity, reinforce commitment, establish consistency, and build confidence.

Through the good or even frustrating times, you know that you are not alone and are extremely important to each other’s success. It is also inevitable that you will need a spotter, or someone to

The element of accountability is HUGE when making the smart decision to work out with a partner. The opportunity to achieve positive results skyrockets exponentially because we contribute to one another’s success.

As a couple, we agree that we will have days when we want to quit, just as long as we don’t quit on the same day!

Showing up is critical. So on those days when you’re tired, don’t have time, feel sore, or just simply “don’t feel like it,” your fitness companion is the one to remind you of the reasons why you started in the first place, encourage you, and keep that burning desire ablaze. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re not going to work out today, but it’s not nearly as easy telling that to someone who is counting on you.

Terry and Tina Shorter are founders of the highly-effective, interval-training system R.I.P.P.E.D. (Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance, and Diet and nutrition), which is franchised to more than 8,000 fitness professionals across the country. They recently released their first workout DVD, R.I.P.P.E.D. Total Body Challenge (Acacia), which delivers amazing results with a scientifically proven, plateau-proof fitness formula to help shape and tone every body.

Photos: Acacia/Adam Brown


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

STEPHANIE HOWE Flora Ambassador

“Never give up!” Photo: Matt Trappe

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Allison McAtee of The Haves and The Have Nots

i n t e r v i e w: m a r a n d a p l e a s a n t

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come most alive? Allison McAtee: Getting lost in and connecting to creative energy makes me feel alive — be it via movement, breathing, or connecting to another through storytelling. I find it compelling. It’s why I chose to be an actor, to tell stories and connect to others. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? AM: You are significant. We are all significant. If you pause for a moment, you will see that we’re all connected and we all matter. Therefore, be nice. Our differences pale in comparison to our similarities. Acknowledging someone else, even with just a smile, can make a difference. MP: What’s your biggest passion project right now? AM: I’ve been creating a series with some of my best friends. We conceptualized the idea a little over a year ago, and seeing it come to fruition is incredibly thrilling! MP: What is love to you? AM: Love is putting someone else’s needs above your own. It’s caring for another person and unconditionally accepting them. Love is “peaceful, quiet, and kind,” and feels like home.

You are significant. We are all significant. If you pause for a moment, you will see that we’re all connected and we all matter.”

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? AM: Two things. I love kundalini yoga. The meditative part of the practice really helps to keep me grounded when life pulls me in different directions. I also love being in nature. I love hiking and always find peace when I’m alone in the woods. MP: What makes you feel most vulnerable? AM: Uncertainty. Thinking about my family. MP: What are some issues or causes that you are passionate about? AM: Women’s rights and anti-human trafficking laws. An incredible charity that I believe is helping to end this is the The Somaly Foundation (SMF). SMF is “a nonprofit organization dedicated to the eradication of sex slavery and the empowerment of its survivors.” MP: What’s your health routine? AM: I’m a green juice junkie! (When traveling, I love Amazing Grass — yerba mate.) I also love to cook and try new recipes and am always up for finding creative new ways to eat healthy. MP: How do you stay healthy and fit? AM: I love running and hot yoga. I’m also a big Pilates and barre class fan. I think alternating workouts keeps it exciting and constantly challenges your body. As a routine, I try to work out five to six days a week for about an hour.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Photos: Gilles Toucas Hair & Makeup: Tracey Taylor

A Passion to Make Change BY Stanley Schneider


I’ve lived in the outdoors all my life. I hiked on the East Coast growing up, in the Redwood Forest in college, and now on the Central Coast of California. As a child growing up in Connecticut, I lived in the woods, swimming, fishing, catching insects, and exploring throughout the different seasons. In the 35 years I was with the Parks System, I saw many birds and marine mammals perish by ingesting or being strangled by plastic. I witnessed the infestation of our beaches, waterways, and forests with unwanted trash, and the abuse of our public trail systems. My goal during all those years at the State Parks was to do my little part to protect them and our visitors through education and my appreciation of our invaluable resources. I decided about about a year ago that it was time to do something about it. It all came about when I viewed a One Percent for the Planet film, [one percent] of the story, on YouTube. What these individuals were doing, how they got there, and their passion to make change for the better inspired me. Turning 50 a few years ago made me evaluate what was important to me in this second chapter of my life. Nature was in my blood, having grown up as a child in the woods of Connecticut. I decided that day, after viewing that video, that I was going to come out of the shadows and try to make a difference by making change.

Stan’s company, Newf Surfboard Net, designs surfboard bags that are unique because they are specialized, functional, multi-purpose bags that fill a void in surf bag design. Newf bags are designed following years of observing what a surfer could use in a bag, and are made California.

BY Elisabeth Halfpapp & F r e d D e V i t o

The Benefits of Working Out as a Couple Couples are wanting to work out together more than ever before!


e have been married for 31 years and have been working out together since we met in high school, where Fred played football and Elisabeth was a cheerleader and ballet dancer! All through college, we enjoyed physical activities together like running, swimming, biking, sports, etc. But it wasn’t until we both taught barre classes at the Lotte Berk Method in New York City back in the eighties that we really found our passion. During our Lotte days, we both taught and took each other’s classes as a way of life (and we continue to take each other’s classes today). We’ve spent over 20 years doing this for a living, and in our free time we’ve taken up kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and cross country skiing. We’ve always had a passion for working out because of the way it makes us feel and the way it makes us look. When your partner is working their butt off to look their best, it inspires you to do the same. Nothing is more rewarding than being with your partner in a social setting, having others admire their body and energy, and knowing how hard they work to be that example of health. We continue to inspire each other and take each other out of our comfort zones. Once, Elisabeth asked Fred to take a ballet class, and Fred asked Elisabeth to do the four-man bobsled in Lake Placid on the Olympic run! Plus, this way of life affects our other choices as a couple regarding the food that we buy and cook, the restaurants that we dine in, and


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

even the vacations that we plan. Our trips are all based on having our lifestyle choices available so that we can spend time together doing the things that we love. As founding team members of exhale Mind Body Spa and creators of the Core Fusion program, we are fortunate to have such a wonderful platform to share our passion for movement and fitness with our students and fellow teaching team. Together we have created a complete series of 11 Core Fusion DVDs, which provide the married couples in our family — as well as students who haven’t quite convinced their partners to come to a class yet — a way to work out together in the comfort of their own home. We teach movement for a living as an extension of our love for movement as a lifestyle, and we are inspired every day by our students’ transformations. Plus, exhale enables us to share health and wellness on an international level, which we consider so fortunate. It totally works for us and we are happy to see the trend in fitness moving in this same direction.

Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito are creators of the exhale: Core Fusion DVD series and founding team members of the exhale Mind Body Spa.



H u g g e r M u g g e r A m ba s s a d o r

Our main task, as I see it, is to understand where we are, where our love lies, and bravely organize our lives to focus on what matters most.�

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


l. rea s a s i love g else i e y l n O thin age, lik e y r Eve ng mir ver th ll si co pas s that ly, it wi d e clou ltimat ck into a .U sun solve b o love. t is all d back in t, ligh

an interview with

mc yogi


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

by m a r a n d a p l e a s a n t


When I hear an 808 kick drum or the crack of a snare, my mind kicks into gear.


Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive?

A. MC Yogi: Music. When I hear an

808 kick drum or the crack of a snare, my mind kicks into gear.

q. What makes you feel vulnerable? A. Yoga. No matter how long I’ve been

practicing, it always challenges me. It shows me where I’m weak and reminds me where I’m strong.

q. If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

A. Only love is real. Everything else is a

passing mirage, like clouds that cover the sun. Ultimately, it will all dissolve back into light, back into love.

q. How do you handle emotional pain? A. Conscious breathing. I find it to be incredibly helpful during stressful situations. Whenever I feel pain, I slow down my breath and chant, “Breath in, Peace in; Breath out, Peace out.” It helps melt my mind back into a place of peace.


How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

A. Mantra. I use my inner dialogue as a

way to draw me back in. There are so many awesome mantras that help to stabilize the mind. One of my favorites is, “Om Namah Shivaya,” which means, “I bow to the all encompassing Light that pervades all things.” It’s called the five syllable mantra, which is said to purify the five elements.

q. Tell me about your latest projects. A. I just released a new record on

Sounds True called Mantras, Beats & Meditations. I made it for yogis, specifically people who are newer to the practice. It covers a lot of ground, from the life story of the Buddha, to the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, to stories about Ganesha, non-violent Buddhist monks, the mantra OM, and even the seven chakras. I feel like it’s a really fun way to learn about Buddhism and Yogic philosophy, while nodding your head.

q. What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life?

A. Forgiveness. In the past, I perceived

that certain people were abusing me, and when I reflected [on that], I could see I did the same to others. When I was able to finally forgive, I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders and it felt like the whole world opened up to me.

q. What truth do you know for sure? A. God is love. Love is the strongest

force in the universe. When I align with it, there’s nothing I can’t achieve.

From headlining music festivals to teaching some of the biggest yoga classes in the world, MC YOGI is widely becoming known as yoga’s modern day ambassador to the West. “We want to make sure that we’re not skimming the surface. As yoga evolves in America it’s really our responsibility to dig down and discover where it comes from, how it relates to us, and how we can really move it forward so that it can benefit humanity.” MC YOGI’s music is inspired by India’s great epic myths, poems, and sacred texts such as the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita. He’s inspired by the life of Mahatma Ghandi and his message of peace. With three #1 world albums and hundreds of appearances each year, MC YOGI’s beat-happy, Krishna-crazed music is moving from the yoga community to large, mainstream audiences.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Kino MacGregor i n t e r v i e w: Y o s h i A o n o , F o u n d e r , Ha n u m a n F e s t i va l

Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive? Kino MacGregor: A perfect sunrise or sunset on the beach is paradise for me. Experiencing that purity wherever I am in the world keeps me totally present and makes me feel alive.

YA: What makes you feel vulnerable? KM: Sharing my weaknesses, admitting my mistakes, falling in love, and trusting someone for the first time.

YA: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? KM: Be strong – strong enough to be true to yourself and believe in your dreams even if no one else does. Love yourself and be open to love in the world.

YA: How do you handle emotional pain? KM: When I am in the midst of a very difficult situation and all I want to do is act and react based on the intensity of my own personal emotions, I use my meditation practice as a way to gain clarity in the moment. While it’s tempting to type out an emotional email or reply with a loaded text message, I find it much more productive to remain focused on whatever the goal is in any circumstance and gain some perspective on the situation outside of my own emotional patterns. So whenever I get a troubling email, text message, or news of any kind, I make it a practice

Photos: John Miller


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

My biggest lesson in life has been about strength. I was not naturally a physically or emotionally strong person. Through the careful guidance of my teachers in yoga, I have cultivated a spiritual fortitude far beyond anything I imagined possible.”

to not respond right away. Especially if the news triggers an intense response, I restrain my desire to act. I then go and find my quiet space and do at least twenty minutes of seated silent meditation. This practice is not twenty minutes of thinking about the problem, but instead time to focus on the breath and regain my own sense of emotional balance. Only from a balanced and clear space will I be an effective communicator, so I make it my top priority to tend to my own emotional balance before responding. The discipline of meditation gives me a stable foundation for my life.

YA: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life? KM: My biggest lesson in life has been about strength. I was not naturally a physically or emotionally strong person. Through the careful guidance of my teachers in yoga, I have cultivated a spiritual fortitude far beyond anything I imagined possible.

YA: What truth do you know for sure? KM: We are so much more powerful and beautiful than we think we are.

Hanuman Festival June 12-15, 2014 - Boulder

Kino MacGregor is an international yoga teacher, author of two books (Sacred Fire and The Power of Ashtanga Yoga), producer of six Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, writer, blogger, world traveler, co-founder of Miami Life Center and founder of Miami Yoga Magazine. She is one of a select group of people to receive the Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India, and practices through the Fourth Series of Ashtanga Yoga.

San Francisco’s Premiere Yoga Studios

Susan Hauser

photo credit: Russ Eddy

200 Hour & 500 Hour Teacher Training Because Yoga Tree is home to some of the most highly regarded teachers in the world, students in our teacher training programs have the opportunity to train with some of the leading contemporary voices in yoga. •

• •

The first center offering MAJORS: Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga & Psychology, Women in Yoga, Yoga Philosophy, Gentle & Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and Alignment Focused Yoga Mentorship programs and hundreds of continuing education opportunities Yoga Alliance Advanced Certification


Pete Guinosso Janet Stone Shiva Rae Ana Forrest Annie Carpenter Mark Morford Dina Amsterdam

Jane Austin Jason Bowman Baron Baptiste Jason Crandell Judith Hanson Lasater David Moreno Elise Lorimer

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa Rod Stryker Noah Mazé Katchie Ananda Tiffany Cruikshank Sean Haleen Harvey Deutch

Valencia l Stanyan l Hayes l Castro l Mission l Potrero l 6th Avenue l Telegraph Corte M A NlT R A M A G . CMadera OM 21

Yoshi Aono, Founder, Hanuman Festival

interview with

jason crandell Q: Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive? A: Jason Crandell: Being “alive” is com-

monly associated with being animated, expressive, and extroverted. Teaching yoga certainly brings out these elements of my personality. For me, being alive also includes the quiet and contemplative side of who I am. My asana and my meditation practices are the most obvious realms where I experience this side. But, if you want to know when I feel the most complete, the most balanced, and the most content, it’s when I’m having my morning cup of coffee while I talk to my wife and play with my daughter.

Q: What makes you feel vulnerable? A: Vulnerability is a normal, natural,

healthy emotional experience. It’s part of caring deeply and it should be embraced. Since I care deeply about many things, I have plenty of vulnerabilities. Teaching yoga makes me feel vulnerable because it’s such a deep expression of who I am and what I care about. That said, nothing makes me feel more vulnerable than having a child and knowing that I can’t insulate her from all the challenges of the human condition.


How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?


I don’t always keep my center in the middle of chaos. Sometimes things get out of balance and fall apart. But, I’ve gotten much better at using my daily practice and contemplation to bring me back to balance.


Q: If you could say something to everyone

What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life?

A: Practice observing your thoughts, feel-

That getting to know and trust myself has made everything easier and less effortful.

on the planet, what would it be?

ings, and sensations with greater objectivity and compassion.

Q: How do you handle emotional pain? A: Like everyone, I do my best to minimize

pain. That said, I respect that emotional pain is an unavoidable part of life. My practice and worldview help me contextualize the reality and discomfort of pain. I’m fortunate enough to have a loving, supportive community that I’m able to lean on when necessary. At times, I’ve also used the help of various professionals and therapists.


Q: What truth do you know for sure? A: I’m proven wrong every time I think I

know something for sure!

Jason Crandell is a natural teacher and author with more than 15 years of experience. His accessible, grounded classes integrate the best elements of power yoga, anatomical precision and mindfulness teachings. Named “one of the teachers shaping the future of yoga” by Yoga Journal, Jason has been one of the most in-demand teachers at conferences around the world for over a decade.

Hanuman Festival • June 12-15, 2014 • Boulder, CO


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


“Be daring, be caring, and love your life.”



Yoshi Aono, Founder, Hanuman Festival

Hanuman Festival • June 12-15, 2014 • Boulder, CO •

Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive?

Amy Ippoliti: The ocean makes me come alive every time, especially doing yoga next to the ocean or in the ocean. Eating coconuts and pomelos at the beach is up there too. YA: What makes you feel vulnerable?

AI: Being alive and in this tiny, fragile, human body makes me feel vulnerable. Loving with all my might and then losing the one I love turns me into a big puddle of vulnerable mush. YA: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

AI: Be daring, be caring, and love your life. YA: How do you handle emotional pain?

AI: The best way is always through; I become my emotions until they pass. YA: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

AI: The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to have a long-term plan, which is exactly what helps me keep my center in the chaos. As best as I can, I try to set up my life with as much ease, order, and efficiency as possible. That way when chaos


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

hits, I know I will be primed and ready to hold more steady. It’s the expression, “Getting your ducks in a row.” This means saying “no” more often so there is less on my plate, putting money aside, eating well, exercising, and staying on top of health appointments. It also means scheduling quality time with precious loved ones so there are no regrets and the connection is there with those who can support us when it’s our time of need; this includes pets, kids, significant others, family, and friends. It’s something I constantly work on and have yet to master. People probably expected me to say that my daily routine to stay centered would be to

meditate first thing in the morning. And yes, that helps too. But I’d say if there is a daily routine to be had, mine is to check in on which of my “ducks” are no longer in a row and line them back up! YA: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life?

AI: One of my biggest life lessons I learned from my grandmother, Ernestine Perrie, and that is to appreciate all that is life: the beauty, the people, the animals, nature, food, music, and art. Appreciate the good times and the bad. Take it all in with gusto, enjoy it, and savor it while you are here for this finite time. YA: What truth do you know for sure?

AI: Being willing to apologize and own up to your flaws is actually ten times easier than being right all the time, and you’ll grow and evolve as a person each time you do.

Amy Ippoliti is a yoga teacher, author, cyclist and philanthropist. She is a regular presenter at the Yoga Journal Conferences, Kripalu, Esalen, Omega Institute, Wanderlust and The Hanuman Festival. Amy is known for her innovative methods to help people “turn up their own volume.” Since the age of 14 she has been a champion of all forms of ecoconsciousness, animals, and more recent forays into marine conservation.

interview with

Giselle Mari Y o s h i A o n o , F o u n d e r , Ha n u m a n F e s t i va l

Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive? Giselle Mari: When someone awakens to their life’s purpose by believing in themselves and their limitless potential.

YA: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? GM: I don’t know that I would say anything at all. I feel we do too much talking and not enough listening and understanding. But if I had to answer this question, I would offer this quote: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”~ Steve Jobs

YA: How do you handle emotional pain? GM: Music is my therapy and has been my entire life. It’s a great soul cleanser. So when I am in any kind of pain, I let the music get inside and unearth the roots of my anguish. It gives me the ability to investigate how much of this is my story and how much is actual pain. Sometimes my emotional pain needs to be handled with a velvet grip and other times it needs a kick in the ass. Music can give me both in three minutes.

YA: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life? GM: My life has been a series of massive lessons, but parenting is definitely at the top of the list. Attending to and guiding the life of a child conjures up so many spiritual teachings, like love, compassion, devotion, seva, and most definitely tapas – just to name a few. It’s a continually evolving lesson in how to plant the seeds, cultivate, nurture, embrace, and then let go – constantly. Parenting is spirituality, and, like it, no one can tell what you’ll experience on your path because it’s beyond words. One must experience it to truly know and that knowing varies. No one approach works every time or even the second time. It is truly the most life altering, love filled like no other, amazing, brilliant, heart and mind expanding, uplifting, inspiring, exhausting, frustrating, neurotic inducing, nail biting, tear jerking, make you want to pull your hair out (and sometimes it will just fall out) relationship you’ll ever encounter. Believe me the list goes on. Even on the toughest days, there is no one on the planet (ok, maybe my husband) that I could love more than my daughter. The lessons she has taught me and continues to teach me will forever elevate my soul – along with the occasional martini.

Hanuman Festival

June 12-15, 2014 Boulder, COLORADO gisellemariyoga.coM


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

YA: What truth do you know for sure? GM: There is no one right way to achieve something.

Giselle Mari is an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher and E-RYT500. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Giselle presents at yoga conferences, festivals and studios around the globe, teaching dynamic and insightful classes with a spunky, grounded approach to yoga.


Yoshi Aono, Founder, Hanuman Festival


a h d a R d n a s a D d n i v o G W I TH

Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive? Radha: The ocean, our son Malakai, writing and singing heart-opening music! Full moon nights. Govind Das: Surfing and skateboarding, singing and dancing ecstatic kirtan, sitting at the feet of great spiritual teachers, family! YA: What makes you feel vulnerable? R: Truly loving without any armor around my heart! GD: Speaking in front of large groups. Living a totally honest and authentic life. YA: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? R: Love is the strongest medicine. GD: You have the power within your own heart to heal yourself. You have the power within your own heart to transform your life. You have the power within your own heart to manifest your greatest dreams into reality. YA: How do you handle emotional pain? R: I sit in meditation and ride my breath to take a step back so I am not so wrapped up in the pain. So I can actually view the pain equanimously and not react unconsciously and, more so, respond from a place of mindful wisdom. GD: I try to feel the pain in its entirety, in its absolute, pure, raw feeling. And like all emotions/feelings/waves, it ultimately passes. I do my best to let it work on me and through me, and remember that our greatest challenges are usually are greatest gifts for us to learn and grow from.

tate; and take my practice off my mat and do my best to serve all beings. GD: I chant the names of God. Specifically, as my Guru Neem Karoli Baba advises, I chant the mantra, “Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram.” When we repeat the name of Ram, the impossible becomes possible, what can’t be done can be done, and what’s already been done can be undone, all in repeating the name of Ram. YA: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life? R: Love starts from within. GD: Keep God at the center of your life. Always keep your mind on the Divine. Always remember that the Great Spirit is working through all things. YA: What truth do you know for sure? R: Children are the future. We must teach them the ways of love, kindness, sustainability, and equality for the planet to transform. GD: Life is a very very precious gift. Wake up and live life to your fullest!

Govind Das and Radha are California-based kirtan singers, yoga teachers, and, as their spiritual names suggest, “servants of the divine.” They are the directors/owners of Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica, CA. They are a husband and wife team, and their commitment to love, service and devotion is the essence of their teachings, which is reflected and transmitted through their music.

YA: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? R: My daily routine is to wake up early (we have a 3.5-year-old son); get on my mat and do my Vinyasa practice (usually with our son climbing all over me); medi-

Hanuman Festival • June 12-15, 2014 • Boulder, CO •


M A N T R A M A G . C OM



Founder, Hanuman Festival

Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive? Anand Mehrotra: Life. I love living, and this is a wonderful place and a wonderful time to be alive in. The very fact that I exist and am aware is brilliant. So to wake up, to breathe, to experience life – its beauty, its challenges, its mystery – constantly keeps me alive and awake to the existential love of being here.

YA: What makes you feel vulnerable? AM: The experience of vulnerability is a split between the heart and the mind – when the heart longs to open but the mind is afraid. A flower is never vulnerable, it’s just open to life. Even though to the mind it is much more fragile than the seed, the seed comes to its ultimate expression through the flower. To me that openness is a natural state of being, even if it is not always pleasurable – that’s life itself. The heart’s longing is to stay open. Life’s invitation is to open up to it. We are capable of transcending any fear that arises.

YA: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? AM: Serve. Love. Meditate. Realize. The end of violence – within and without – is only achieved through the realization of our own essential nature, the peace that we are. If we don’t serve, if we don’t connect to love, and if we don’t connect to stillness, we won’t realize the truth of who we are. Serve. Love. Meditate. Realize. Simple.

YA: How do you handle emotional pain? AM: The idea of “handling” emotional pain suggests that there is something wrong with pain in need of fixing – but pain is an essential part of the human experience. It is the drama we impose upon pain that leads to suffering, which is optional. Enter the pain with an open heart and an awake consciousness, mindful that the ego does not hijack you. With that awareness, the pain will rise, peak, and fall – and lead you deeply into compassion for the pain we all experience in various forms.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

YA: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life? AM: We exist in time but we belong to eternity. Everything that exists in time will end in time. Everything. We own nothing. So the more we seek the self in time, trying to find “who am I” in time, the more suffering we’ll experience.

YA: What truth do you know for sure? AM: Love. We come from love, we exist through love, and to love we shall return. The atoms and cells in our bodies are pure love – choosing, mysteriously, to stay together to allow us to experience the brilliance of this world without any merit on our part. If that’s not love, what is? The love of existence is always present, even though we’re not always present to it. Getting in touch with that love is what will liberate us.

Born in Rishikesh, India – the birthplace of yoga – Anand is a Master Teacher, a visionary, and a philanthropist. He is the founder of Sattva Yoga (www. – a holistic practice that inspires students to truly experience freedom and radical aliveness – and charities to benefit children and the elderly.

Serve. Love. Meditate. Realize. The end of violence – within and without – is only achieved through the realization of our own essential nature, the peace that we are. If we don’t serve, if we don’t connect to love, and if we don’t connect to stillness, we won’t realize the truth of who we are.”

Hanuman Festival June 12-15, 2014 • Boulder, CO





“Lama Tsultrim Allione has had a great devotion and has done a lot of work to maintain the continuity of the teachings and practice of Chöd. I deeply rejoice in her very pure heart motivation in doing this.” – His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje


Lama Tsultrim Allione

Peter Rowan & Yungchen Lhamo

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Krishna Das

Tara Mandala is a vibrant international Buddhist Community emanating from a beautiful 700-acre retreat center. It is home to a 3-level mandala Tara temple and numerous retreat cabins located in the southern San Juan Mountains near Pagosa Springs, Colorado – the world’s deepest hot springs. For Tara Mandala’s 20th anniversary year, along with our rich season of core retreat programs, please join founder Lama Tsultrim Allione to celebrate this milestone. SPECIAL BENEFIT EVENTS FOR 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION • June 14 INTIMATE DIALOGUE with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo chronicled in international bestseller “Cave in the Snow” and Lama Tsultrim Allione • July 25 – 27 WEEKEND with Krishna Das, Lama Tsultrim Allione & Scott Blossom

• July 26 BENEFIT CONCERT with yoga ‘rock star’ Grammy Nominee, Krishna Das

• August 9-20 EXTRAORDINARY WHITE DAKINI DRUBCHEN with Sang-Ngag Rinpoche

• September 19 - 21 FOUNDER’S WEEKEND BENEFIT with Peter Rowan, singer-songwriter Grammy -award winner and six-time Grammy nominee & celebrated Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo

For a full list of 2014 programs and events go to:

I started MRYB as a personal challenge. I was complaining (a lot, to anyone that would listen) about the lack of diversity I saw in the Western yoga world. Female, white, young, thin; unless the topic was yoga for weight loss, or yoga for a specific demographic, it was pretty consistent. And I realized I was too scared and ashamed to contribute to changing this — to put my own, almost 40, dimpled, curvy, not particularly photogenic self out there was terrifying. But I was sick of bitching, so I just did it one day. And the response was so empowering that years of body hatred began to dissipate. On a deeply personal level, I am forever grateful.

Guinevere Hilton Founder, MRYB

This badass body goes upside down, grows babies, shakes its booty with abandon, and moves with grace and awkwardness in equal measure. Yoga has helped me reclaim the joy of moving and inhabiting the body I have today — not the one I think I “should” have. Photo Credit: Jeff Woodward


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

tiffany del cid I began practicing yoga when I was pregnant with my first son nine years ago. I have always been down on myself and how my body looks. Never feeling satisfied, it was through yoga that I learned self-acceptance and started to let go of the self-doubt. It is my goal as a yoga teacher to help students heal their struggles with their own body image and help them understand how accessible yoga really is.

anna eshoo

“Never feeling satisfied, it was through yoga that I learned self-acceptance and started to let go of the self-doubt.”

This year I am celebrating being on the mat. I had spine surgery in May of 2013. My injury led me to a wheelchair, pain, and not knowing if I would ever get on my mat again. I am now about nine months post-surgery and I have been on the mat building strength, loving my body with all its new curves, and every single bit of me as it is. Photo: Julie McBay, Simply You Photography

Nicole Montanarelli I am an example of a body very rarely shown in the media because I am not “fat enough” nor am I “skinny enough.” I suffer from body issues, I will not lie. However, I never feel better about myself than when I am doing yoga and teaching. Before my class, all my insecurities sit there on my chest, but as soon I start to breathe or speak, they disappear. I stop being that body and tap into something deeper, more sacred — the universal knowledge.

SHELBY YORK At 42, I am celebrating my body and the fact that it has carried two children. I celebrate my laugh lines, my gray hairs. Everything I am is a result of who I am and where I have been, and that is worth celebrating.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


andy campbell It took me years to come to yoga. Not being very flexible or particularly strong, I was always uneasy that I would feel embarrassed in front of other people in a class. And I did, until I began to notice that the only judge was in my head.

“Not being very flexible or particularly strong, I was always uneasy that I would feel embarrassed in front of other people in a class. And I did, until I began to notice that the only judge was in my head.”

michelle clarke Growing up, I hated that my thighs were so fat. Now I appreciate the strength they provide to support my balance. The breasts I thought were too large in high school nursed my children. I feel these body parts finally got their chance to show me why I carried them around for so long. And they serve(d) their purpose.

“Growing up, I hated that my thighs were so fat. Now I appreciate the strength they provide to support my balance. The breasts I thought were too large in high school nursed my children.”


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Paula hines

melissa gall

When I am on my mat, I feel the kind of feeling I want to feel all the time. I feel pure bliss. I am in my body, not my mind. I am not a girl in recovery from binge eating disorder; I am me and I am unstoppable.

I’ve practiced yoga between the sizes of (UK) 20 and 12, and been shamed in classes before due to my size. I almost didn’t go down the teaching route, but I’m glad I have. I want more people to see that yogis come in all sizes, shapes, ages, and backgrounds.

I came into yoga seven years ago. Weighing over 200 pounds, I decided to take up yoga at first for the physical benefits, but the more I practiced, the more I began to realize the mental benefits as well. Now, I am more comfortable with my body, at 40, than at any other time in my life. Photo: Abi Yoga Photo: Kevin Scarffe

kristi roarke Experiencing my body through asana and through my own breath has allowed my mind to soften and to appreciate all that my physical body IS, instead of what it is NOT. Shifting to this lens of acceptance and celebration has been a slow and fluid process that continues to progress and to strengthen with each practice.

“Shifting to this lens of acceptance and celebration has been a slow and fluid process that continues to progress and to strengthen with each practice.”

M A N T R A M A G . C OM






C e l e brat i n g

Gay Love

If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Rumi


hadji Jones

2. Madeleine Lohman

3. clay twombly

Yoga Instructor, The Black Yogi, Philadelphia, PA

Yoga teacher, writer, musician

Cambia Means Change, Nantucket, MA

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Rumi. Last year, walking home one night, I was attacked by four guys — most likely due to my sexuality. Although I woke up sore the next morning, I had a choice whether to share anger or transform it into love and forgiveness. Once I let go of what’s in my mind to focus on my heart, I truly surrender to that universal LOVE. Wake up, world, and dance in this love!

Human beings are capable of extraordinary leaps of clarity, compassion, and connection. At the same time, fear of change can drive us to a backlash of hatred and divisiveness. Being alive at this watershed moment in LGBT history has shown me firsthand the best and worst of how we treat each other. I have learned that, whatever the risk, living as authentic and integrated a life as possible is always its own reward.

Slow down and take time to be still, to listen. Follow the Golden Rule and just be kind, including to yourself. It goes a long way. If you take time to tune in and listen, you will remember we are all connected to each other, to the planet. Remember that we never know what someone else is experiencing, so wait to respond before reacting. Just be kind. Photo: Joe Longo


M A N T R A M A G . C OM Photo: Kiny McCarrick Photo: Charlotte Carey Photography







4. greg wieting



Integrative health consultant, San Francisco, CA

Yoga agent/entrepreneur, YAMA Talent

Take the next step in answering the call of your heart. Tune in to its pulsing energy. Listen. Feel. What brings you to life? What brings you into rhythm? Move in that rhythm. Circulate its renewing intelligence connecting yo u to your truth and your passion. Trust this natural flow of your life force and share it generously. This is your gift to yourself and the world.

Trust thyself.

Yoga teacher and inspiring mentor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada I believe love is a constant force that has no agenda. We are the ones who get in the way of its brilliance. Love can change the world if we get the hell out of its way. Photo: Copyright 2013 Mario Covic

“Love can change the world if we get the hell out of its way.”

7. sondra loring

8. Piper Rose

9. Miles Borrero

Director, Sadhana Center for Yoga in Hudson, New York + Satya Yoga Center in Rhinebeck, NY

Yogini and Sparkling Unicorn, Kindness Yoga, Denver, CO

Yoga teacher, Kula Yoga Project, Pure Yoga, the House of Jai, New York, NY

It’s been said before and said better, but I wish for everyone, all beings, to awaken and not miss this precious and amazing life. I hope that we all can, with great kindness and tenderness, be able to love ourselves fully and completely.

If I could say one thing to everyone on the planet?! Wow! First, “Hello. Nice to meet you and Namaste.” Then, I hope that my “one thing” could be a small list of things: 1) There is only love; practice daily. 2) If you could pray for one thing, pray for the Truth. 3) Dive into the radiant and perfect center of your being and spread outward from that place. 4) This whole thing, the WHOLE thing, is a miracle.

I’m from Colombia, where there is great suffering and disparity. My basic needs have always been met. Giving the whole world advice from that vantage point feels dishonest. I can share two things I live by. First, I always ask myself, “Is this something I can live with?” If not, I don’t do it. Second, be of service. Helping in some small or large way gets you out of your own hardship and connects you with others. Photo: Matt Fricovsky Photo: Giovanni DeMola

“Love ourselves fully and completely.”

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


interview with:

Nicholas Ferroni Renowned educator on investing in our youth.

I n t e r v i e w: Ma r a n d a P l e a s a n t


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

“If our world has any chance of coming together on common ground, it’s going to be through education and not ignorance.”

Maranda Pleasant: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? Nicholas Ferroni: Education is the only investment that everyone benefits from, and our most important natural resource is not oil, but our children. Education is the only solution to all the world’s problems. Our youth need a curriculum full of the arts and humanities so they can nurture creativity, understanding, and emotional stability. Every day, throughout the world, educators are providing your children with knowledge and, more importantly, building the very characteristics that will ensure they grow up to help the world, not hurt it; to solve problems, not cause them; to help their fellow man, not exploit them; to give and not take. If our world has any chance of coming together on common ground, it’s going to be through education and not ignorance.

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far? NF: Having left acting and an incredible opportunity on a soap opera, which would have guaranteed me fame and money, I decided to follow my heart and passion instead. When people find out what I left to become an educator, especially my students, they think I’m kind of foolish, until I reiterate the fact that I wouldn’t have been a good actor, not even close. I was passionate about acting, but I always wanted to be a history teacher and I know I’m a pretty damn good one. I always tell my students and audiences that if you want to truly be happy, turn your passion into a career and don’t try to turn your career into your passion, because it’s impossible. Everyone has the ability to change the world and I truly believe that everyone is a genius at something, but the tragedy is that most people are following paths that don’t allow them to share their gifts with the world. I can only imagine how many students, who are musical and artistic geniuses, will never know that they are gifted, all because their school had the cut the arts programs. MP: What truth do you know for sure? NF: That people are not inherently selfish, prejudiced, or hateful. I have never seen a child not play with another child because of that child’s race, religion, or sexuality...until a parent comes over. We are born to love and help each other, but, somewhere along the line, we begin to believe that individual success is more important than succeeding together. I am not referring to communism, but I am saying that no matter how jaded a person is, we still feel compassion when we see others who are suffering, struggling, and helpless. That is why I choose to work with children, because they are still impressionable, and they still possess the very innocence that provides me with hope for the future. The only way to guarantee a better and brighter future is to invest in our youth. Nicholas Ferroni is a former actor turned educator, whose passion for education has led him to become a nationally recognized educator. Nicholas was also named one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World” by Men’s Fitness, and is currently working on a celebrity charity book, The Awkward Album.

Photos: Juan Cespedes for Exposure Media Studio

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


The Power of Play F ly n n C o l e m a n So, I was dancing down the street the other day. Ok fine, I do it a lot. And yes, people sometimes growl (I’m looking at you, New York), or get confused (I think we Californians just befuddle everyone with our happy vibes). But that’s cool. Because I dance for myself; and to make my friends giggle at my having memorized Pitch Perfect (choreography and music); and for the woman crying in her car who cracks a sweet smile, mouthing “thank you”; and for the man walking, furrowed brow, face down in his iPhone, who looks up as his face softens into laughter. Something shakes loose in us when we dance, sing, and play. Whether it’s a new idea, a bit of mojo, relief from sadness, or a connection with another person. We are wired for play, and just like creativity and compassion, we all have it within us. Have you ever noticed how a child moves? They go heart first, waving at strangers and finding delight in mundane things like bottle caps and mirrors. They haven’t yet learned to close their hearts, to smile less, to only dance in certain venues, or to hide their squealing joy when something awesome happens. In fact, mindfulness is that childlike awe, a “beginner’s mind” that is not only a touchstone of Zen Buddhist thought, but is also the path to innovation. Is that cardboard box just a box? Not to the kid who just tricked it out into a spaceship. This is how cosmic explorers are born.

So today, play. Sign up for that soccer or improv team, accept your kid’s invitation to that backyard tea party, bust a few dance moves with your partner, or frolic with your dog. Relish the parts of yourself someone told you long ago were not “serious” enough. Because those heart-openers we do in yoga aren’t just for kicks. They are bringing us back to our natural state: one of openness, curiosity, and love.

Flynn is an international human rights attorney, the founding mindfulness teacher at King’s College, a yoga teacher, and the founder of SAMYA Practice, a social enterprise that creates innovative mindfulness and creativity curriculums. SAMYA also works with global partners to provide healing mindfulness training and legal aid to trauma survivors.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM




Play connects us to the deepest part of ourselves and others. As Plato understood, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Play connects us to the deepest part of ourselves and others. As Plato understood, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Photo: Chelsea Coleman

inner waves

organics Worn by Inspiring Teachers & their Students


Justin Kaliszewski – Outlaw Yoga Co-Founder, Teacher, Poet, Activist M A N T R A M A G . C OM


david young wolfF David is a visual storyteller. He strives to capture and reveal the essence and beauty that exist within each of his subjects. He loves the creative process and energy that occurs when a model and a photographer work together.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

M A N T R A M A G . C OM



M A N T R A M A G . C OM

M A N T R A M A G . C OM




Lissa Dohl F

of LISSA the shop

orget everything you think of when you hear the words “sustainable fashion.” Now more than ever, eco and ethical fashion is chic, comfortable, and conscious.

Sustainable awareness has become part of our everyday lives — recycling, using green household products, composting, and consuming organic foods all have become widely accepted and practiced. The fashion industry is also changing; there are increasingly more independent designers launching lines of conscious-minded clothing that you can feel good about supporting and look great wearing.

Maranda Pleasant: Can you tell me a little about “Mindful Style”? Lissa Dohl: Mindfulness is just a lifestyle choice for me. Think of how you choose your vegetables; you select what is fresh and what tastes good, and sure, it’s organic, of course. Same with your clothes; you want to look great and feel good, so your clothes need to be chic and comfortable, and sure, they are sustainably made. MP: Is the shop’s collection is 100% sustainable? LD: Yes it is. Just like you want to grocery shop in a store where essentially all your choices are healthy (and there isn’t just a “health food corner” amid mostly junk food), LISSA the shop offers only sustainable choices – and not just one “sustainable collection” amongst mostly sweatshop-made merchandise. MP: Tell me about sustainability in fashion. LD: There are many different ways designers aim to make their products more sustainable. Choosing fabrics that are made from natural fibers, such as bamboo, hemp, or the wood-based fiber lyocell, or are pesticide-free organic cottons, are some examples. From a production standpoint, the use of low or no impact dyes and, of course, sweatshop-free production are great, sustainable practices that many designers are now incorporating. Another great thing about sustainably-made fashion is that it is typically made with integrity in small batches by independent designers. These are not designers who are chasing fastfashion trends for the masses, but true designers with a unique vision of conscious dressing.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

“Now more than ever, eco and ethical fashion is chic, comfortable, and conscious.” Each piece carries the unique stamp of the designer, yet is designed to be combined fairly flexibly into your wardrobe to create new looks over and over again, so the wearer can own their look. High quality, timeless items are always stylish, and style never goes out of fashion, whatever the latest trend or fad may be.

Lissa Dohl is the owner of the, an online sustainable fashion boutique for women. After working in the fashion industry for companies such as Barneys NY, Prada, and Vogue Magazine, Lissa launched her business to bring together a passion for fashion with a commitment to an ethical lifestyle and sustainable future.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


things we love

twinlab cleanseries

This amazing CleanSeries from Twinlab is a high-performance sports nutrition line that is non-GMO verified, banned-substance tested, gluten free, and formulated without artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. We love it!


Lorna Jane strikes again with their Floral Mania 7/8 Tight! The floral print may look sweet, but the durable and moisture wicking fabric packs a powerful punch. Wear this sporty tight to conquer your next run, cycle, or strength session.

twinlab's skin within

Twinlab’s Skin Within is amazing. It’s clinically tested to significantly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve moisture content of dry skin, significantly improve skin elasticity, and help reduce oxidative stress. What more could we ask for?


These Dimension 3/4 Tights from Lorna Jane are spectacular! Featuring a dynamic mesh print, these tights are breathable, shrink and fade resistant, quick drying, moisture wicking, and a new favorite!


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

beads of esiteti

We love Beads of Esiteti, which is dedicated to empowering the Maasai people of Kenya by generating an income for over 275 Maasai women. Every purchase helps to unleash the power of these women, decreasing cases of early marriage, HIV/AIDS, and FGM, while creating greater access to education for girls throughout Maasailand.

Laurel Hicks MSW, E-RYT, RPYT, Detroit, MI Love, compassion and kindness are vital needs for all people. As a PhD student, my focus is developing yoga-based interventions for high-risk pregnant women and to disseminate knowledge through training yoga teachers. This will not only change the lives of one generation, but also the lives of their unborn children.

Taylor Wells M.A., M.Ed., RTY Founder of Prana Power Yoga & Author of Create the Best Life Ever Boston, MA It sounds simple, but I’ve learned that most things are. I practice yoga every morning – no exceptions – and while I practice I read hand-written inspiration cards to set my vibrational foundation and intention for the day. In moments of chaos, I draw upon that foundation and intention, and it really works. Photo: Ray Mucci

Elyse Leeds Acanda Heart to the Sky Yoga Space, Chantilly, VA Yoga has taught me to stay grounded and present, to observe without overreacting, and to keep my heart to the sky. By physically and mentally staying open instead of hunching over and caving in, everyone can feel better and experience the world from a more positive, enthusiastic point of view. Photo: Doug Stroud Photography


How do you take your yoga...

“Yoga has taught me to stay grounded and present, to observe without overreacting, and to keep my heart to the sky. ”

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


by leah cullis

The First Lady Plants a Yoga Garden


s I was standing barefoot in the grass on the South Lawn of the White House, I saw a woman in tree pose wearing a black t-shirt with “Michelle Obama is my homegirl” airbrushed in neon pink and blue. Me too, sister.

“Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!” It could be the tagline for any yoga studio, but it’s the message our First Lady, Michelle Obama, and her team created when they completely transformed the once-elite White House Easter Egg Roll into a family-friendly extravaganza promoting health and wellness. For the last five years, I’ve had the incredible privilege of teaching yoga on the White House lawn along with a team of rock star yogis from across the country. 30,000 people from all 50 states attend the event, and what do they see first when they walk onto the lawn? The Yoga Garden! Our First Lady is modeling that while tradition is important, we have the freedom to adapt those traditions and practices to make them work for our lives today. She chose to make the Easter Egg Roll matter to all kids and families of today, instead of exclusively to DC’s elite. She transformed the event, adding yoga, opening it to LGBT families and DC public schools, and giving regular folks from all 50 States the chance to join. Our President said it best when, still a Senator, he said, “Mindful of our history and hopeful for our future, let’s go out and make the world a better place today.”

Once a year, the Obamas turn “America’s backyard” into a playground for the day, complete with yoga, live music, sports, cooking classes, storytelling and, of course, the traditional egg roll. Some kids come in their seersucker suits and ruffles, and others in their sweat suits and gym shoes. All too often, the business of teaching yoga can be highly competitive. But on this day, just like it doesn’t matter what you wear, it doesn’t matter what kind of yoga you practice, how big your classes are, or if you’re featured at major conferences. It matters how much you care, how much you can let go, get down, and have some fun. It matters how we connect to the highest in ourselves and see and inspire the highest in everyone we meet. No matter who’s teaching, we end every class the same, by sharing the meaning of Namaste in the simplest terms — I’m awesome and you’re awesome too. Thanks, Mrs. Obama. “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, and Let’s Move!”

Leah Cullis is is a 500-hour Baptiste Yoga teacher and holistic health coach. She has led yoga on the White House lawn every year since 2009 as part of a Presidential initiative to encourage healthy and active living. She’s committed to loving big and living a vibrant life.

“Once a year, the Obamas turn ‘America’s backyard’ into a playground for the day, complete with yoga, live music, sports, cooking classes, storytelling and, of course, the traditional egg roll.” Photos: (left) leah cullis (right) Eric Tabora and Jan Hanus

B Y pa m e l a n i x o n

A NEW GEneration of yogis The benefits of teaching yoga to children

“Can you imagine what our world would look like if more children grew up feeling confident in themselves, their abilities, and their relationships with others?”

oga isn’t just for adults anymore. But was it ever? Or did we just think it was reserved for the older and more mature practitioners? It turns out kids are natural yogis who thrive in the practice. There are children’s yoga classes and studios popping up all over the country. Teachers are using yoga in the classroom and parents are doing yoga with their children at home. More and more children are being introduced to this practice every day and for good reason! The benefits we as adults experience from our yoga practice are the same benefits children experience when they hit the mat with friends for a little downward-facing dog, pranayama, or a child-friendly meditation. So what is it exactly that yoga does for children? Boosts confidence and self-esteem Can you imagine what our world would look like if more children grew up feeling confident in themselves, their abilities, and their relationships with others? Perhaps we would see less bullying, less violence, and lower suicide rates. Yoga teaches children to love and appreciate themselves, just the way they are. Teaches relaxation techniques We have all seen hyper, anxious, or frustrated children who throw tantrums or can’t seem to calm themselves down. Through child-friendly breathing techniques and meditation, yoga teaches children how to become aware of their energy and that they have the power to harness that energy and use it in productive ways.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Introduces body awareness You can’t have love or respect for a body that you don’t understand. Through physical asanas, children learn about their bodies, how they move, and how awesome they are! Creates awareness and respect for nature Tree pose, half moon, down dog – mimicking the awesome things we find in nature is a great way to introduce kids to all that they are missing when they stay indoors playing video games! Through asana, imaginary adventures, and guided relaxation, children are able to reconnect to and find a deeper appreciation for nature and all it has to offer. It’s fun! Children’s yoga classes are game-playing, song-singing, yoga adventures. They hop like frogs, create down-dog tunnels, “OM” with their friends, and take imaginary yoga trips to far-off places. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that kind of fun? The benefits of yoga for children are endless, and the impact the practice has is powerful. Mahatma Gandhi said, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” Bringing this life-changing practice to a new generation means having even more yogis in this world. And I can’t think of anything better.

Pamela Nixon runs the online community and resource center for yoga teachers, If you are interested in bringing yoga into the lives of children but aren’t sure where to begin, check out Teachasana’s online course, Teaching Children’s Yoga, to learn child friendly poses, games, breath work, meditation, and even the business of teaching children’s yoga.

B Y Hawa h K a s at

An important way to cultivate spirituality is through a rigorous routine (tapas). Sometimes denying ourselves what we WANT in a particular moment and seeing that it may not be what we NEED is what allows us to grow spiritually. One simple way to develop the will power (atma shakti) needed for personal transformation is to select one day out of the week to fast from something. For example, every Monday for two straight years, I fasted completely from food. This was also part of my effort to have solidarity with those who are hungry not by choice. For two years, this was the cornerstone to my spiritual practice. After a couple of years, it was difficult to maintain this taxing practice, so I remained flexible and slightly changed my routine. For another year, I ate one meal every Monday, since many people live off one meal a day. I kept this meal as simple as possible, eating only beans and rice. For this year, every Monday I have committed to eating only raw foods. That may not be for everyone, so there are always variations you can experiment with. For example, you may want to select one day a week when you ingest only juices, or perhaps just fruits and nuts. Maybe, one day a week you decide you will go without turning on the television, or, for coffee drinkers, that may be the day you do not have coffee. Not only will this augment discipline, but also, in the case of food, it will give your internal organs the necessary space and time to cleanse and release toxins. No matter what it is, fasting from something or trying something new one day a week allows us to explore different perspectives and ways to see our lives, and thus the world. Another practice to experiment with is not eating out more than once a week. See how cooking meals together instead of simply eating together might shift your time with friends. Personally, I feel better when I’m living simply and not being a consumer. For those living in the western, industrialized world, we must constantly remind ourselves that $10 spent on a meal is what

“Personally, I feel better when I’m living simply and not being a consumer.” many families around the world have available to them for an entire week of food. I also understand that sometimes (for our own sanity) we’ve got to treat ourselves. This means that the lines may occasionally blur at midnight, when we don’t need that apple and peanut butter to stay alive, but we do need that apple and peanut butter to help us smile; and that’s okay! It’s important to have faith that we will make the right decisions, especially in those moments, and we have to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, and open to accepting the occasional exception to the rule. My most important rule in life is to always bend and at times break the rules — to stay fluid, agile, flexible, and willing to utilize sharp discernment from circumstance to circumstance. This is the goal of my refinement. Not every rule is applicable to every circumstance.

Hawah Kasat has authored four books and produced three documentary films. He is co-founder/executive director of the non-profit organization One Common Unity and also the founding editor of The Poetry of Yoga book anthology that contains 300+ yogi poets from 19 countries.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


On Truth Serum, Not Being an Asana Teacher, anD living our yoga by m e l i S s a k o c h


fter all of the postures, the sweat, the breath, the pilgrimage to India, and the precious moments of a quiet mind, it came. What I call the yoga truth serum came – and, to this day, it has not left me. The truth serum is this: while I’m not sure if I’m meant for something “great,” I’m certainly meant for something “more.” This was my catalyst for transformation. The transformation did not include becoming an asana teacher, and definitely not full time. At the time this realization came, the equation of my life looked something like this: I loved my high-power, legal/corporate career (ok, parts of it) and it was very important to me to have the resources I needed to do the things I wanted. Leaving it all behind to teach asana was not really in the cards. What was in the cards was leaving behind particular people, things, and activities that weren’t serving me; identifying and not being afraid of what I really want; and being very


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

conscientious about how I spend my time and energy. In practice, this became a significant (but not complete) downshift in my legal career to make room for the birth of my companies – each with a mission to improve the lives of the people they touch. The first is an integrative medical practice, where I am a life coach helping people create fulfilling lives. The second is ninetimestwelve, where we hand craft charms for people who love yoga. Both are reflections of how I live my yoga.

“While I’m not sure if I’m meant for something ‘great,’ I’m certainly meant for something ‘more.’” With ninetimestwelve, I wanted to create something beautiful, functional, inspirational, and humble. Something to pay homage to the practice that has touched my life so deeply and given me so much. I wanted something

that I could have with me all of the time, both on and off the mat. Something artful that feels good to the touch and is made with care and thoughtfulness in every detail – from the layers of the design elements, to the meaningfulness of the symbols, to the history of 108. All of these things influenced how ninetimestwelve came to life. I wanted a gift for myself, for the practice of yoga, and for others with whom the charms resonate. The charms are milestones, medals of honor, travel logs, good luck charms, and strength potions. I had one in my pocket when I left my global corporate job to follow my dreams. I had another on a necklace when my beautiful nephew was born. This is the power of the charms. This is how I live my yoga.

Melissa Koch is the owner and creator of and owner and coach at Essential Mind and Body. Melissa is also a lawyer by trade, has an MBA, and is a 15-year practitioner of yoga.

interview BY maranda pleasant

Marc Ian Barasch Founder of the Green World Campaign, Marc Barasch, on making the world a kinder, greener place





Maranda Pleasant: What are your thoughts on the kindness revolution?

Marc Barasch: It’s clear we’re in the midst of a huge shift. We’re moving from self-discovery to other-discovery; from “me” to “we.” We’re realizing ever more acutely that we’re now playing Survivor for real here on planet Earth. If we don’t want to get kicked off the island, we need to think less about Darwin’s survival of the fittest, and more about a parallel thread in his work, what some call “survival of the kindest.” There’s a ton of research that compassionate thoughts, feelings, and deeds don’t just improve relationships and communities, but boost your own mental and physical health as well. The good news is that science is showing how we can improve our kindness quotient with practice. Major companies are starting to promote empathy in their corporate cultures. A “Compassionate Cities” project I helped seed in Seattle years ago has grown, through the work of some amazing organizers, into a network of over a hundred communities from Mumbai to Addis Ababa to Louisville. The spread of compassion as a central organizing principle in our personal and collective lives is going to be what the old human potential movement was, but squared — cubed!

What does compassion have to do with the Green World Campaign?

I founded the GWC eight years ago with the idea of “green compassion.” We’re not just protecting flora and fauna, a critical task, but also practicing ways of caring for people and the planet as a single system. “Holistic” may be an overused term, but that’s what we’re trying to make real at all levels — helping communities restore degraded lands and forests in ways that also increase food security, rural income, peace, and reconciliation.


What do you do to tune into your own spirituality and compassion?


I like to practice Buddhist tonglen, where you imagine you’re breathing in someone else’s pain and breathing out your sense of goodness and love. It can seem counterintuitive — maybe even a little yucky, like breathing in other people’s bad vibes — but it’s actually liberating. It cuts through the kind of everyday narcissism and defensiveness Buddhist texts call “self-cherishing.” It’s good for your spiritual circulatory system, so you can accept the dark as well as the light, and become what Rumi called a

“true human being,” a real mensch. Compassion isn’t just ripping your heart out — it’s a jailbreak from the prison cell of ego!

Marc Barasch has been planting new paradigms in the soil of our culture since he ran New Age Journal, one key seedbed of the movements in spirituality, healing, ecology, and politics that changed the American landscape. Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu called his book The Compassionate Life “a compulsory read for all.” Marc co-starred in a film, “I Am,” that the book inspired. His classic Healing Dreams made “trailblazing contributions” (the Washington Post) to the mysteries of our inner life, and has been taught in college psychology classes alongside Jung and Freud. His books The Healing Path and Remarkable Recovery were guideposts for the holistic health movement. Marc helped jumpstart the NPR enviro-variety show “E-Town,” and Boulder’s Buddhist-inspired Naropa University. His Emmy-winning global TV special for Ted Turner on the first Earth Summit brought the issues home to literally billions of people.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


The Yoga of

Intimate Relationships B Y T r av i s E l i o t a n d La u r e n E c k s t r o m


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Whether you practice yoga with your partner or independent of your significant other, the ancient teachings of yoga can vastly support and help sustain a healthy, positive, dynamic, intimate relationship. Thousands of years ago, Patanjali created The Eight Limbs of Yoga, from which we can utilize the first limb, or the Yamas, to help guide us toward the highest experience of an intimate relationship. Non-harming


The opposite of harming is the energy of compassion. Intimate relationships will always present certain challenges and frustrations that can trigger harmful, reactive behavior. Putting yoga into action off the mat and in your relationship requires carefully watching the moments when heat rises and mindfully practicing compassion. This is especially true in the things we say, the actions we take, and even the thoughts we have. In emotionally full moments, watch your thoughts, words, and actions. Take a deep breath, step back, and align with the perspective that’s for the highest good of all involved.

Truthfulness Truth leads to a deep quality of strength and integrity within a relationship. Truth is truth. Whether a lie you tell is hiding something large or whether the lie is small, it all matters. Honesty requires courage and is not always comfortable. Risk being honest over being comfortable to help elevate the relationship’s foundation of trust and goodness.

In today’s hectic-paced life, your quality time together is more precious than ever. The guideline of non-stealing in this modern day advises us to be fully present with our partner. Take small steps, such as leaving cellphones and computers out of the bedroom, to enhance your quality time. Leave aside distractions and consider putting small complaints and arguments to the side to maximize the moments you spend with each other. Keep moments such as dinner time, bathtime, and bedtime as sacred corners in your day for giving gratitude and sharing love.

Non-hoarding Everyone needs space. Non-hoarding encourages us to have trust and faith that space is a safe thing to create for each other within a relationship. The tendency in an unhealthy relationship is to have fear around the other partner growing or evolving into someone different than they currently are. It’s important to have the willingness to give our partners space to grow as human beings, whether that’s going on a meditation retreat, going back to school, or even going to a yoga class. Have faith that a balanced amount of space will bring more happiness and joy into your relationship.

Continence Continence or celibacy in ancient times was applicable to yogis and monks who completely stepped away from worldly pursuits. In modern times as householders, continence signifies a deeply respectful and pure use of sexual intimacy. Everything revolves around intention. As a couple, create an intention around making love so that sexual intimacy becomes a powerful, beautiful, and transcendent form of communication within your relationship.

Although the teachings of the Yamas are ancient, they are more relevant to contemporary times than ever. Ultimately, by bringing this wisdom into action we transform not only our intimate relationships and ourselves, but also the world around us.

Travis Eliot and Lauren Eckstrom are both experienced registered yoga teachers with more than 500 hours in training. Together, they lead international retreats across the globe, host workshops and lead 200-hour teacher trainings. Travis Eliot created and Lauren Eckstrom co-produced the award-winning yoga DVD series, The Ultimate Yogi. Photos: Amy Goalen

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


the art of yoga

yoga teacher Ali Owens photographed by Jasper Johal


M A N T R A M A G . C OM



the v-word my path to veganism lara heimann I grew up in the South, eating meals laden with animal products – bacon, eggs, grilled cheese, chicken, steak, baloney, and liver. It all seemed fairly normal to me until one night when I stroked by dog Missy during dinner. Biting into a fried chicken leg, I had a moment of unease as I connected the chicken I was eating and the beloved dog I was petting. It was just a moment, but it stayed with me. Then in fifth grade, my science teacher mentioned that baloney is made of pig guts, feet, ears, tail, genitals, and anus. I ran to the bathroom and threw up the baloney sandwich I had just eaten. That was my last baloney sandwich, but I continued eating animals until I was sixteen, when I swore off all meat products. Well, sort of. I did eat fish occasionally, but felt like a vegetarian because I only considered meat to be beef, turkey, chicken, or pig. Rationalizing that the fish

were happy until that brief moment when they were pulled from the ocean and died, I figured I wasn’t contributing to any major suffering. I proudly entered a new phase of conscious eating that lasted through my twenties. But internally, I did know there was a level of hypocrisy at which I was drawing my moral line. While I was fairly unaware of these contradictions, they were revealed right after I got married. My husband and I spent a weekend at Farm Sanctuary learning about debeaking, intensive confinement, maceration of live male chicks, and many other cruel animal agriculture practices. It was a loving slap on the face: here I was a proclaimed animal lover, yet woefully ignorant of the realities and magnitude of animal suffering. For example, I was consuming the hormonal secretions of another animal, not thinking about the

By abolishing imaginary boundaries and inherent contradictions, I felt stronger and wanted to be better – for animals, humans, and the world.”

babies for whom the milk was produced. These calves were either taken to be veal or turned into another poor dairy cow, and I was contributing to the suffering. Ouch. On that trip, a switch turned on. Why then? I’m not sure. Maybe as a new bride, I was ready to shift my perspective and my husband was also on board (huge help). Arriving home, we cleared our refrigerator of any animal products, began slowly to rid ourselves of wool and leather, and declared ourselves vegans. I felt a sense of relief as I released a hypocrisy that I had felt from that moment when my younger self wondered why it was ok to eat one animal and yet love and live with another. By abolishing imaginary boundaries and inherent contradictions, I felt stronger and wanted to be better – for animals, humans, and the world. While veganism can seem a bit challenging, it has felt fairly simple for me. Being really clear on how I want to live has empowered me – I have become a certified vegan chef, a health counselor, and a yoga studio owner. Most importantly, by embracing veganism, I have felt a passion and purpose that fills me with boundless joy. Love for all.

Drawing from her background as a Physical Therapist, Lara has combined her love of anatomy, creative movement and functional training to develop YogaStream, a powerful, challenging flow style that emphasizes anatomy, alignment and intelligent sequencing. Lara owns YogaStream studio in Princeton, NJ and directs the 200-hour YA-certified teacher training school. She also leads international retreats, is a Lululemon ambassador and certified natural food chef.

PhotoS: Jay Sullivan (headshot) Mark Heimann (handstand) M A N T R A M A G . C OM


interview: yoshi aono

Nataraja Kallio: Following my dharma, my being’s calling and path, awakens my vitality. This is certainly not easy or straightforward, as it is uncharted territory, like everyone’s. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna states, “It is better to follow one’s own dharma, however imperfectly, than to try and follow another’s dharma, however perfectly.”


Yoshi Aono: What makes you come alive?

YA: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? NK: Once I got over my nerves at the thought of speaking to 7 billion people, I’d probably offer some humor. To have 7 billion people laugh together would be a sublime recognition of our shared humanity – not to mention the challenge of finding the universal funny bone. I might then sober up the gathering and suggest that we, as a human species, need to start getting exceptionally creative and engaged with the unprecedented fragility we now face regarding sustainability and survival. Oh, and, “I love you, you beautiful, distraught, tender world!”

YA: How do you handle emotional pain? NK: When afflictive emotions arise, rather than deflect away from them (an old habit), I pause to feel and look into the very heart of the pain. What initially appears large and daunting will often shape-shift and unknot through this process of attention. This is the most liberating gesture I know in working with pain, as it undoes the deep-rooted tendency to cling to the pleasant and avoid the unpleasant, and shows pain to be nothing but raw energy at its heart. Through this gesture of attending to whatever arises, I am free to experience life as it is, without the constant push and pull of mind to generate particular experiences and avoid others. Everything becomes a welcome visitor that can reveal the heart, even pain.

YA: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life? NK: I’ve experienced some heart-wrenching loss in the past years, the passing of a number of people that were very dear to me. It has driven home the unshakeable realization that this life is but a moment, an exhale, a flicker on life’s stage, and thus that we shouldn’t waste time in ways that don’t encourage and celebrate love, wisdom, and being of service in the world.

nataraja kallio YA: What truth do you know for sure? NK: I am not sure I know anything for sure! But if I was to give it a spin, I think the biggest question that needs to be answered at the end of the day is: did I love well? Was I more consumed with myself and my agendas, or with truly touching and being touched by this extraordinary world?

Nataraja Kallio has been a student of yoga since 1989. He is a professor, storyteller, and director of the Yoga Studies degree program at Naropa University. As director of the only undergraduate Yoga Studies degree program in the U.S., Nataraja focuses on translating yoga to the west in a way that honors its roots and its integrative spirit.


Festival June 12-15, 2014 Boulder, CO


M A N T R A M A G . C OM










Alanis Morissette


on returning to her body



Venus Williams


Using nerves to your advantage FROM SIX-TIME OLYMPIC MEDALIST



M A N T R A M A G . C OM








islanders: 1.

If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?


Ginger garner PT, ATC, PYT, Founder & Executive Director, Professional Yoga Therapy Studies, Emerald Isle, NC I get to live at a decidedly slower, “nature-nurture” pace that reconciles my love of the urban lifestyle. Blanketed from outside influences like crime, pollution, and peer-pressure that make modern life so hurtful and damaging to your physical body and soul, I return from work travels to my family, where I can most easily focus on being grateful for a simpler life.

sherry sidoti Founder & Director, FLY Yoga School + Owner & Director, Yoga Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, MA Just like the deep breath in downward dog, living on an island serves as a mirror, promising deep reflection. Abundant and giving, the island’s wet soil, waves and sand remind us of what the yogis have known all along — we too are organic beasts of nature, one thread in the continuous web. Already healed, already whole, connected, and living in relationship. Yoga. Photo: Eli Dagostino


dagmar spremberg 500Hr E-RYT, Founder & Director of Montezuma Yoga, Playa Montezuma, Costa Rica In a city, I am constantly distracted from the outside world. Here, nothing ever changes outside. The ocean is blue. The sun is shining. So, I have learned to look inside. Nature is a great teacher. Now I can appreciate stillness, my meditations are deeper, and the pace of my practice slows down as I listen to the sounds of nature.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM Photo: Robert Krivicich


anne manubag 200 RYT, American Council on Exercise PT, Health & Fitness Professional, Yoga Alliance, Cebu City, Philippines Cebu is in the epicenter of the Philippine archipelago. It is a melting pot with a beautiful blend of energy from the bustling metropolis and the raw stillness of the tropics. It’s urban and rural at the same time, yin and yang at its best. Living here for most of my life has taught me to appreciate and integrate balance into my practice. Photo: Jet Ricardo


caitlin marcoux Yoga teacher and writer, The Yoga Room, Nantucket, MA Because Nantucket is 30 miles out to sea, I am literally surrounded by sky and water. Living here, I am reminded daily of the importance of our connection to the earth and ocean, and to embody the rhythms of nature in my practice. The elements shelter me from commercialism and industry, and I am afforded the space to dive deeply into my heart’s wisdom. My yoga is a constantly evolving, tidal offering.


melissa smith 500 ERYT, Grace Yoga Retreats, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Living in Southeast Asia has stretched me in ways that no single asana has. In the heart of Kuala Lumpur, my home has become a revolving door, host to countless yogis seeking traveling adventures. Alongside these wanderers, I crave the energy and pace of the tropics. Rich cultural diversity keeps me investigating where my next new beginning will be. Photo:

What keeps you sane? 1.





Exhaust the body so the mind can meditate.” – TRACE KEASLER

Justin Michael Williams


Yoga Business Expert, Business of Yoga, LLC Venice Beach, CA When the buzz of life becomes overwhelming, I turn off my iPhone and take a timeout with Mother Ocean. The beach is my sanctuary. I dig my feet into the sand, close my eyes, and allow the wind and waves to wash away any stress from the day. Photo: Robert Sturman

Ashika Gogna Getting on my mat and sweating into stillness, laughing a lot, and breathing consciously. Photo: Robert Sturman

Trace Keasler


Serial Entrepreneur What got me addicted to yoga was the philosophy of, “Exhaust the body so the mind can meditate.” Yoga is the only time of day I’m truly in the moment. Learning to let go even for that short period has carried out into the rest of my life, especially when people are cutting (flipping) me off on the LA freeways. Photo: Robert Sturman


Micheline Berry

Dearbhla Kelly


Ashtanga yoga is my great reset button. Inhale, exhale, repeat. The poses are secondary to the meditation on the breath. I always get clearer, lighter, softer, and fuller when I practice. And then the letting go happens. A return to balance. Off the mat, my girlfriends keep it real. I’m blessed to call some wise, compassionate, funny, women my friends. They remind me what’s important.


Artist Yogini, Liquid Asana Prods A mysterious confluence of the following has kept me sane over the years: the compassionate listening of a wise human; waterfalls; music; poetry; psychoanalysis and therapy (thank you, Jung); dancing from the depths; Buddhist meditation; teaching; gratitude; laughter; a deep, sweaty yoga practice; making art with the inner rubble; Lakota sweat-lodging; Tom Robbins and a hammock; a good, snotty cry; curiosity; and the love of my man. Photo: Robert Sturman

The beach is my sanctuary. I dig my feet into the sand, close my eyes, and allow the wind and waves to wash away any stress from the day.” -JUSTIN MICHAEL WILLIAMS

M A N T R A M A G . C OM





What helps you heal from heartbreak?

1. Brandi Anderson


My first reaction is always to move on and to refocus. To do so, I redirect my time and energy towards things that benefit me both inside and out. Yoga is always my go-to for an emotional release and there is nothing that a class followed by a glass of wine and laughter with a friend can’t cure!

To have a good cry and then regroup. I regroup by doing something that brings me joy like running, cooking, or yoga. I try to acknowledge that this person or experience was brought into my life for a reason...sometimes surrendering to activity can shed light on a challenging situation and allow you to see things in a new way.

Director of Events & Catering for the Boka Group; Girl & the Goat + Little Goat

Yoga Instructor, Health Coach. FitGirl Wellness


Why is this work important with veterans? 3. Tyler Norris

4. Pamela Stokes Eggleston

I have seen many fellow veterans returning from their tours with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. During and after my service in the Navy, my practice became necessary to deal with the stresses of life. I worked with a veteran who had an intense case of PTSD and insomnia. Through Yoga Nidra and Asana, he was able to reclaim the peace he had lost through his traumatic experiences.

Veterans, service members, and military families have experienced high levels of stress and strain, particularly with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars throughout the past decade. I know through personal experience as the spouse of a wounded warrior that each of these specialized populations is unique; to this end, my approach to yoga instruction with military service members and families is distinctive, authentic, and compassionate.

LMT, RYT, Qi Gong Instructor, Original Guru Yoga, Phoenix, AZ


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Founder/CEO, Yoga2Sleep.







plant-based diet





skin + beauty









“These days, dreaming big has made my life magical. It allows me to create the things I wish existed.” What were you told was one of your biggest flaws/weaknesses,

that you now use as a strength?


Joe Barnett 500 ERYT, Yin Yoga Teacher Trainer Itchy feet! The spiraling desire to perpetually move on to the next mental/emotional landscape. My wheels spinning, but stuck. Home was an internal conflict. I now travel all year and worldwide. I have sacrificed “home” for travel and ultimately found my home/heart on the road and in the air – grounded and devoted to the practice like never before.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Rina Jakubowicz Yoga Teacher and Founder of Rina Yoga When I was little, I was stubborn. I wouldn’t listen to my parents, which lead me to being grounded most weekends. Misdirected, I caused harm to myself and others, but when channeled positively, I used it to question my peers’ intentions and adults who abused their authority. It helped me maintain my truth – thus making my hard-headedness a strength. Photo: Julio Alvarez


Deneen Renae Yogini, Street Artist, Writer As a child, I was a day dreamer, off in my own little world, head in the clouds kind-of kid. These days, dreaming big has made my life magical. It allows me to create the things I wish existed. My secret; create your own reality, help others, and keep your head in the clouds.

greatest struggle

What has been your

how did you get through?

Amanda Stuermer

Founder of World Muse I have struggled much of my life to find two very important things: my voice and the courage to use it. I created World Muse because I believe it is essential that each of us be heard. World Muse provides women and girls with tools, support, and opportunities to speak their truth and inspire change. Are you ready to muse? Photo: Amanda Conde Photography

Jensy Scarola

Author of Your Wide Awakening: A Guide to Anorexia Recovery, Life Coach, Speaker I suffered with anorexia nervosa for a decade. The moment that I decided to finally recover was when I surrendered to Spirit and placed recovery in the Universe’s hands. I had tried to heal with traditional methods and it never seemed to stick. Once I chose the spiritual path, light was able to enter my heart for healing.

Jennifer Cohen Harper

Sara Nolan

Founding Director and author, Little Flower Yoga for Kids The struggle for me is ALWAYS treating kids with respect and love, even when their behavior is very challenging. Maintaining my own emotional balance, acting skillfully, and modeling compassion are ongoing practices. I stay at peace with the process by remembering that if children are receiving acceptance and support from me, but never learn a pose, I’m still doing good work.

Over a decade ago, mutual desperate love told us: do it! I had an affair with my best friend. He had a wife, two young children, and a third, whose birth ended us. I got through by going down on my knees before Truth. I wrote to his postpartum wife; we three spent many nights together, seeking understanding. And I, many dark nights seeking relentlessly the same within.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM






What is the truth

you know for sure? 1. Michael Faith

2. Krystyn Louise Strother

3. Jill Knouse

4. Sarasvati Hewitt

Executive Director, Living Yoga

Yoga Teacher, Holistic Health Counselor, TiffanyYoga Assistant.

E-RYT + LMT + Heart Flow Vinyasa Instructor, Jill Knouse Yoga Portland, OR

Yoga Instructor

The truth that I know for sure is that all of us are more than our worst behavior and that love is what restores and reveals our goodness more than punishment ever could. And, when we reflect back to others the good we see in them, they thrive. Photo: Aisha Harley

One truth I know for sure is that love ALWAYS wins. Not the sentimental kind of love, but the kind of love that fills your bones with indescribable feelings. When you find yourself in the depths, look for love and it will show you a light. When you find yourself in the light, look for love and it will show you the path.

The truth I know for sure is that we all have a tremendous capacity for love. It is our core essence. All of us. If it’s not love it’s fear. And fear is then a call to action so that we may learn, grow, heal and come back to LOVE. Photo: Cassie Goodluck-Johnson Photo: Ben Moon

My children have taught me that every moment is precious. All of the things we say and do matter. Everyone and everything matters. Yoga continues to provide the tools for me to stay present and live the best life possible, being as happy as I can be while serving the world around me joyfully. Photo:

5. Jennifer Siegel

6. Natalie Gildersleeve

7. Casey J Palmer

8. Bibi McGill

Yoga Therapist, Peaceful Health Yoga

Mama, Yogi, Student, Yoga Union

Owner & Yoga Instructor at Near East Yoga

Every day is completely unique. My body, intellect, emotions, and spirit are always changing, same as you. The truth I know for sure is that regardless of the day, I do not need anything I don’t already have within. I can take the time to be present right now and listen before reacting. Balancing and rebalancing mindfully makes us all our own best teachers when we’re courageous enough to try.

Sometimes life is joyful, and sometimes life is painful, but it is always precious. There is a deep, dark, and beautiful mystery to existence. Mothering is my most challenging and rewarding practice. I want to step into life with an open heart and a willingness to make mistakes. I want to love, and I want to be loved. There is power in vulnerability, and there is always more to learn.

Acclaimed yoga teacher, internationally known musician, & health food entrepreneur Photo: Lisa Skaff

Photo: Lacey Lampe




M A N T R A M A G . C OM

The truth I know for sure is that I practice yoga method in response to a deep inner calling that I don’t always understand but truly cherish. That calling has kept me turned toward the practice. I’d have no results today without the method. The practice has been the great stabilizer, creating a vessel for holding new and wondrous activities and ideas. My teacher gave me a way of life, all I have to do is live it.

There are a multitude of ways one might explain, teach, or practice yoga. Yoga has the power to bring joy, harmony, peace, and balance to the many different layers of chaos, disease, and stress within one’s being. Regardless of how much you talk about it, yoga is the Guru within each individual that is best understood when experienced by its practitioner. Yoga is union. Yoga is LOVE. Yoga is for everybody.

Photo: Marv Johnson



C U R V Y& Y O G I S What have you been criticized for

1. cami cote

E-RYT 200, RYT 500, River City Yoga, Missoula, MT

how did you transform/embrace it?


Jennifer Oliver O’Connell

The Thighs Have It! As the Girl Turns, Los Angeles, CA

I have a long history of feeling self-conscious of my belly. All of my life, I tried to hide it and dieted endlessly in an effort to hide or change it. When I started practicing yoga, I realized just how disconnected from my body I was. Yoga asked me to make peace with a body that I had hated my entire life. Slowly, I began to change my attitude about my body through the many practices in yoga. Particularly helpful to me is Japa Meditation to Ganesha (the remover of obstacles) [Om Gam Ganapataye Namah]. Today, I consciously let go of thoughts that no longer serve me and I’m finding my way Belly, Mind, and Spirit.

I have often been criticized for the size and shape of my thighs. Thanks to the wonder of Power Yoga, I have transformed this body part from large and lumpy, to solid and strong. Asanas like Warrior 2, Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), and Horse have helped me build strength and muscle tone, and have encouraged me to tap into my own fierceness, beauty, and strength each time I’ve stepped on the mat. Photo: Robert Sturman

Photo: Sarit Photography


4. Melanie Klein

Brigitte Kouba

Someone gave me the unsolicited advice that I’d be more successful as a yoga teacher if I lost 50 lbs. Although it could be true, I knew it was an unrealistic priority and refused to let my success be contingent upon losing weight. Instead, I decided to practice loving my body and embrace myself as I am, while inspiring other women to do the same.

Standing my ground, embracing my whole being, and taking an active part in the world through my writing, activism, and teaching took courage and trust in my inner knowing. It validated my worth and allowed me to quiet the inner and outer critics that kept me small and silent. And Yoga + Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery and Loving Your Body, is the perfect homage to that journey.

Yoga Teacher, Los Angeles, CA Photo: Patricia Pena Photography

Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, Santa Monica College

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


yoga body


my real




YOGIS finding deeper


YUlAdy: Yoga Saved My Life CANCER THRIVER

DROPPING judgment

FORMER COCAINE ADDICT MantraS to Calm your Crazy Self Down


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


(SPINSscan 52 weeks ending 1/2014)

We’re surrounded by toxins. They’re everywhere. In the things we eat and drink, and even the air we breathe. Some toxins are by-products of industrialization, others occur naturally. The good news: our bodies have a variety of ways to deal with toxins. The bad news: the current load exceeds our body’s ability to adapt . . . and sooner or later everyone is affected. That’s where Flor•Essence comes in. It helps our bodies remove toxins more efficiently than they can on their own. The question is, does it really work? Well, we’ve sold millions of bottles in over 25 countries, received countless testimonials from satisfied customers worldwide, and Flor•Essence has been the top selling detox tea in North America for the past 10 years. Some people call it astonishing, we call it the antidote for modern civilization. Organic + nOn-gMO + Plant Based + gluten-Free 888-436-6697 | VISIT WWW.FLORAHEALTH.COM TO FIND A STORE NEAR YOU.


Receive a $4 coupon toward your next purchase. Visit: or scan this code!

Now a little


goes a long way.

quinoa quin

plump raisins

zesty cinnamon


NEW Kashi Organic Promise Raisin Vineyard has quinoa, which along with other delicious ingredients, s, helps make it a tasty bowl of goodness. So you can chart a course of positive eating, no matter where the day takes you.

Ž, TM, Š 2014 Kashi Company


THIS SIDE 8 deepak chopra 10 wayne dyer 12 SAKYONG MIPHAM 16 eckhart tolle 26 yUlAdy saluti 30 bee bosnak 34 ana forrest 38 faith hunter 52 elena brower

10 38

Assistant EditorS Devon Craig Ocean Pleasant Mantra Online Griffin Byatt copy Editor Ian Prichard NY Editors Sharon Pingitore Nancy Alder



Yoga Philosophy Editors Eric Shaw Bob Weisenberg Chicago Editor Mia Park D.C. Editor Faith Hunter

The other side 6 8 18 24 36 44 48 51

kathryn budig tiffany cruikshank mc yogi amy ippoliti nicholas ferroni lissa dohl leah cullis hawah kasat

Contributing editors Dana Damara Karen Fabian




Photographers Joe Longo Robert Sturman Drew Xeron

COVER ART PHOTOGRAPHERS: Yulady: Sherry Sutton MC Yogi & Amanda: Tim Porter

Can I tell you how excited I am about this issue and this year? This issue we’re featuring strong, beautiful yogis of all ages, shapes and ethnicities. Isn’t it about time we see ourselves reflected in the media? We are also connecting with studios and teachers from all over the country. We are building a national community, a network where we can all be strengthened. Join our ambassador family or become an online columnist. We’d love to hear from you. Email us: We’re also rolling out a new yoga and music tour with Michael Franti this summer, called SoulShine. If you’d like to join us in organizing your city, let us know. It’s about community, connection and building deep and lasting relationships. If that’s not enough, we have a new television show launching this summer featuring women transforming pain into power. Join the family. We’re in this together. Maranda Pleasant Founder/Editor-in-Chief Mantra Yoga + Health • ORIGIN Magazine


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Contact us Head Ninja Advertising Subscriptions Ad Rates+ Specs Rates begin at $2800/Full page 713.922.8584 Join Our Team


How Myth Inspires My Life


I was brought up in India, a land that is imbued with a living mythology. Very early on in my childhood, it was my mother who told me that the word “inspiration� literally meant to be in spirit. The spirit, in turn, was the spirit of God, who breathed into the dust of the earth and animated it with consciousness. The most fundamental factor of existence, then, became the awareness or consciousness of existence. Since it was impossible to imagine God as an infinite being, our collective consciousness used symbols to express divinity. These symbols were literally the gods and goddesses in our mythical stories. Long before I became aware of Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth, I was already deeply immersed in the stories of these magnificent mythological beings who had supernormal powers that went beyond human capacities. Every day, my mother would read to me and my younger brother, Sanjiv, stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Indian


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

epics equivalent to the Odyssey and Iliad. Here I learned of the great archetypal energies of Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom; Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance; Krishna, the cosmic alchemist; and Ganesh, remover of obstacles. When I was very young, I thought of them as actual beings. Later, I realized that they were in fact symbols of higher states of consciousness that allowed us to tap into the collective imagination and our collective longing to accomplish the extraordinary. They lift us to heights of passion, ecstasy, and extraordinary accomplishments. As I grew up, I was immersed also in the lives of mythical characters in our own times: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa. Their stories and their lives were extraordinary not only because they were great storytellers, but because they actually lived their stories as well.

Myth Reveals the Creative Process As I delved later into the literature of mythology, I realized that “myth” was etymologically related to the following words: mother, matrix, time, measurement, music, matter, meter, mata, and mater. Myth was the womb of creation through which the infinite being became quantified and finite in the world of space-time and causality. Myth as story reveals the creative process itself. Much later, I also understood that the rituals of invocation of the gods and goddesses were actually ways to breathe in the archetypal and universal energies in myths to activate that latent power within our awareness. Now, many years later, I realize that icons and even commercial brands are encapsulated myths. They are stories with motifs and themes that capture the essentials of the human drama. The stories contain the eternal conflict between opposing themes: sinner and saint, hero and villain, forbidden lust and unconditional love. They have in them mystery, adventure, magic, wanderlust, and divine energies such as love, compassion, empathy, and equanimity – and the eternal battle to overcome our own demons of anger, hostility, guilt, shame, and fear.

Myth was the womb of creation through which the infinite being became quantified and finite in the world of space-time and causality. Myth as story reveals the creative process itself.

Embodying the Collective Longing for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Much later, as I started my writing career, I delved deeply into the cultural mythologies that later became institutionalized religion. I studied the lives of Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and Buddha not with a desire to validate their historical truth, but instead to see them as the symbolic expression of the longings, aspirations, desires, and extraordinary accomplishments in the collective imagination of a people in a particular time and culture. The themes were essentially the same. These great beings had lived stories that surpassed the capacity of ordinary human beings. They were not limited by social constraints. They were rebels. They did not mimic popular culture. They led it. They offered hope, trust, stability, and compassion to people in times of confusion, turmoil, chaos, and collective anxiety.

I have gone on at such length to share with you how my life has been inspired by myth and story, and how they have unfolded in my career. I started out as a physician dealing with physical problems, my concern expanding over the years to encompass well-being in all areas of human existence (emotional, social, spiritual, community). Ultimately, myth and story inspired my vision of 100 million people undergoing personal and social transformation to create a critical mass that will lead us in the direction of a more peaceful, just, sustainable, and healthy world. Today, I live that vision in every fiber of my being and every breath that I take. My inspiration comes from the great mythological beings of our collective culture and history. These beings spoke to our collective longing for truth, goodness, beauty, harmony, and evolution in the direction of enlightenment.

As a result of my deep interest in mythology, I began to write historical fiction that not only included books on Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad, but also tracked the lives of great saints and sages, such as in my book, God: A Story of Revelation. Many years ago, I also had the opportunity to live in the southwest part of England, where I became captivated by the story of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the magician Merlin. This resulted in two books: The Return of Merlin and The Way of the Wizard.

Deepak Chopra, M.D. is the co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. The Chopra Center offers a variety of signature mind-body healing programs, meditation and yoga retreats, and online courses. This May the Chopra Center’s Summoning the Sacred workshop is coming to Sedona, Arizona, where Deepak Chopra and Jean Houston will help you tap into the power of archetypes and find meaning and fulfillment on your hero’s journey.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


I can see clearly now by way n e dyer

s much as I wanted my father to show up and love me when I was a young boy, I now value his absence as one of the greatest gifts I’ve been granted. His waywardness and abandonment of me were truly part of my coming here to teach self-reliance, which is one of the great themes of my life. I have been doing precisely this since I was a child, and it has dominated my entire life’s work. It’s so clear that there are no mistakes in this universe. The stars are all in alignment. The sun is the exact distance from Earth, to the millimeter, to create and sustain life. There is a precision to this universe, whether looking through a telescope or a microscope, that defies intellectual comprehension. It is all perfect down to the tiniest subatomic particle and outward to the most distant celestial body. Included within this precision is all that comes our way, as well, even though an understanding of the why is frequently not apparent. I needed to be in a position of relying upon myself if I was to fulfill my own purpose and live out my dharma to be a spiritual teacher of self-reliance. My years spent in foster homes provided me with the opportunity to learn this firsthand. I had to rely upon myself — there was no one there to do it for me. My relationship to my father was to be the single most significant relationship of my life. My wanting him to show up for me on

my timetable, when I thought I needed him so desperately, was my own ego at work. Everything shows up in Divine time. We get what we need on the schedule of a force much larger than ourselves. This invisible force moves the pieces around in its own way, in its own time, to harmonize with the perfect precision that defines every cubic inch of space and time.

cruel, so distant, always ended up leaving me no other option other than to go within and resolve the issues for myself, or to turn to a new kind of Divine love practiced only by great spiritual masters and God himself — a love awash in forgiveness. Everything I needed to remain on course in my life was being provided — though the child I was couldn’t know it at the time.

It might seem far-fetched to some, but I believe that my life without the benefit of a father was perfect in every way. From this vantage point I see that my books, lectures, films, and recordings came about because my father was absent from my life. My ego wanted him, but my spirit knew that I had a far greater purpose to fulfill.

Today, from the perspective of looking back over my life, I can see that everything was absolutely perfect. Without my knowing it, I was in some kind of training right from the get-go. Perhaps my father agreed to come into this world from the world of Spirit and live his own life in such a way that it would require his youngest son to learn how to live a life of self-reliance as a toddler, a teenager, and then a young adult.

Those years that I spent in agony over why and how a man could be so insensitive, so

“Being given the opportunity to send love and forgiveness to my father for all of his perverse, mercurial behavior perhaps was a training stage for helping millions of people transform their own lives with a vision aligned with a God-realized perspective.”

Being given the opportunity to send love and forgiveness to my father for all of his perverse, mercurial behavior perhaps was a training stage for helping millions of people transform their own lives with a vision aligned with a God-realized perspective. I feel my father’s presence frequently, and whenever I sense him near, it is like a soft mist of infinite love rather than the storms of fierce rage and angst that previously typified my thoughts of this man. Yes, he was my greatest teacher. I know with certainty that God works in mysterious ways — but not in accidental ways. Indeed, it is, and always has been, perfect in every way. I am so grateful.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


What does love mean to you?

“It means that you finally realize you are not alone in the universe. If you are willing to acknowledge another, then that openness allows you and them to be stronger.�

Sakyong Mipham scholar. meditation master. author. teacher. warrior-king descendant.

i n t er v i e w: g i n a m u rdock


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Gina Murdock: If you had to describe yourself in 140 characters or less, what would you say? Sakyong Mipham: As the earth’s protector, I have the inspiration and responsibility to hold ancient wisdom and manifest it to transform culture.

GM: What has surprised you most in this life? SM: That no one is in charge. We keep thinking that somebody is in charge. But nobody is in charge.

GM: What do you hope your students get out of your teachings? GM: What is your life’s mission? SM: Utilizing the wisdom and training that I have received and experienced to help create a modern culture of wakefulness and understanding. This is called creating an enlightened society — to guide and help support humanity so that the most strong and noble qualities can help determine the future of our society and environment.

GM: What is the most important lesson that Trungpa Rinpoche taught you? SM: There are many qualities that he imparted to me. But one of the main lessons is about being brave — about not giving up on oneself or society. He epitomized this by going through a tremendous personal journey. He was a living example that this can be done if we remain true to our own integrity and have the bravery to not give up.

GM: What inspires you most? SM: When I look back, my father inspires me. And when I look forward, my children inspire me. As I look at all the people that I meet, they inspire me. In many conditions, people are dealing with incredible obstacles, but they persevere. Even though there are a lot of overwhelming conditions occurring, there is still a sense of possibility.

GM: What has THIS life taught you? SM: To be humble. To appreciate the incredible gift of life. When we lose touch with that, life easily becomes hollow. We must all participate in life. Through our participation, we can create a spirited force of life.

GM: What is one truth that you know for sure? SM: The cosmos is circular, not linear.

GM: What breaks your heart? Where do you draw your strength from? SM: Beauty. By that I mean a sense of fragility and totality. When we are willing to relax and appreciate that, we become very open and vulnerable. Vulnerability and heart-brokenness is actually a human strength.

Photos: Breton Hoagland / BhhStudios

SM: That they have the ability to create their own destiny. The teachings are not a BandAid. They are not something external. Rather, if we have strength and bravery, then we have all the ingredients we need to make a meaningful life.

GM: What does love mean to you? SM: It means that you finally realize you are not alone in the universe. If you are willing to acknowledge another, then that openness allows you and them to be stronger.

GM: How can people increase synchronicity in life? SM: This is challenging because time is condensed in this modern age. Synchronicity is based upon our ability to lead a balanced life. This doesn’t mean that we only get half of everything. Rather, we have to decide what is important for us to do. When we do that, then synchronicity isn’t about how many things we can balance or collect. Rather, it’s about mastering the art of contentment. Being unsynchronized reduces your own life-force energy. You are not benefitting yourself or others.

GM: Meditation is becoming quite popular as a life-enhancing technique. What advice do you have to someone just starting out? SM: Meditation has to do with appreciation of the human mind. The mind is fantastic and incomprehensible. It can understand a butterfly, human love, or the entire universe. Meditation is a daily time when we enhance the qualities of the mind that are beneficial. As you begin, the main thing to keep in mind is that you cannot fail. Any time we spend paying attention, applying the mind to any kind of meditative technique, is helpful. It is important to remember that it is not an endurance test. It’s not torture. But it is healthy and natural. Even though you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.

GM: Are there any causes or anything happening on the planet right now that you’re passionate about or that concern you? If so, what can we do about it? SM: I am very curious about how people think about themselves and how they think about

“The cosmos is circular, not linear.”

the environment. The main issue is that it is not too late to orient the world in a direction that is sustainable for generations to come. I am concerned that humans are out of balance in terms of personal health. There is a tremendous sense of physical and emotional stress. At the same time, there is a lot of environmental stress. I would encourage everyone to participate in terms of creating the future.

GM: If someone was looking for their life’s purpose, what would you say to them? How would you direct them? SM: The main thing is realizing that this life is incredibly precious. If we can see life in this way, then no matter what we do, there will be a deep appreciation for our own existence here on earth. If we have that feeling, then we begin to find ways of expressing it. This can manifest in our career choices and so on. There is a feeling of not wasting this life. This is a question of how we value life. If we can create a society where meaning can be found at every level, then life can be well lived.

GM: What do you endeavor to teach your own children? SM: The value of love, which is human connectivity. To appreciate both discipline and laughter.

Born in Bodhgaya, India in 1962, the Sakyong Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche is the eldest son of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Lady Könchok Palden. He is the incarnation of Mipham the Great, a renowned Nyingma scholar and meditation master. As part of the Mukpo clan of eastern Tibet, he is a descendant of the Tibetan warrior-king Gesar of Ling. The Sakyong is author of the bestselling Turning the Mind into an Ally, the award-winning Ruling Your World, Running with the Mind of Meditation and his newest book, The Shambhala Principle. Through the Sakyong Foundation, he engages in supporting organizations and projects whose activities exemplify the wisdom and compassion of humanity. He teaches all over the world, using his unique blend of Eastern and Western perspectives to the benefit of his students in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM



Mantras That Will Change Your Life

alling to God through song and prayer is a ritual that traces back to the beginnings of spiritual history. In most religious texts, it is believed that singing songs of praise somehow gets us on God’s “good side” so that He will bless us and answer all of our prayers. But as Raymond Holliwell perfectly says, “The singing of songs or blowing of trumpets does not bring the results you pray for; nor do you gain favor with God because of it. The effect of your efforts does not influence God in any sense, but it does influence you.”

“Om Shreem Maha Lakshmiyei Namaha” This mantra calls to the energy represented by Lakshmi – the Hindu Goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), abundance, and beauty. Want more cash flow? Need a raise? This mantra will bring luck and good fortune into all domains of your life.

Love is ever-present, abundance is infinitely available, and anything else you have ever prayed for is waiting to bless you. Using mantras is the easiest way to transform your mind so that you can vibrate at the same frequency as that which you desire. Although these Sanskrit mantras are Hindu in origin, it does not matter what religion you identify with. Remember, mantra simply means “tool

by justin MICHAEL williams

The trick to getting your prayers answered is to transform your own mind. Research has proven that our thoughts create our reality. So if you want to change your reality, change your mind. One of the easiest ways to do this is through chanting mantras. The simple definition of mantra is “tool of thought.” Use the mantras below as tools to manifest your deepest dreams and desires. Set a clear intention, repeat them daily for three minutes each, and watch the blessings unfold.

“Kali Durge Namo Namah” This chant calls to the Hindu Goddesses Kali and Durga. They are known for protection from evil and for powerful help removing and cutting through negative forces. We all have a habit, relationship, or situation that is no longer serving us. Think of something you need to let go of and allow this mantra to release anything that is not aligned with your greatest truth.

Gayatri Mantra “Om bhur bhuvah swaha, Tat savitur varenyam, Bhargo devasya dheemahi, Dhiyo yo nah pra-chodayt” The simple translation: “Oh Divine Mother of all creation, we honor you. Please guide us away from darkness, protect us, and illuminate our hearts and minds so that our prayers may be answered.”

of thought,” so set a strong intention, and watch the magic happen.

Justin Michael Williams is a vibrant public speaker, musician and successful entrepreneur who ditched corporate America to start his own yoga-centric social media marketing agency. He travels the globe training yoga instructors and studios to thrive in marketing and business.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle from the SERIES “A New Earth”

OWN : O p r a h W i n f r e y N e t wo r k



An all-new season of “Super Soul Sunday” begins Sunday, March 23 at 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Immediately following is the television premiere of “Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth” at 12 p.m. ET/PT. Check for local listings.

Photos: (TOP & RIGHT) Harpo Studios, Inc./George Burns (BOTTOM LEFT) David Ellingsen


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

So, yes, pain passes through me, but I don’t keep it alive mentally. I try to let it pass through as quickly as possible and return to the present moment. It’s gone. It’s over. It’s passed through. Maybe I learned something from the situation or events and that’s fine, but then, return to the present moment.”

Maranda Pleasant: When I read your books, they seem ethereal in so many ways, but on the ground, how do you handle emotional pain when it comes in? Eckhart Tolle: I experience it rarely, when I see suffering being inflicted on humans or on animals, or I see it when someone close to me dies. I even experienced it when my dog died. There is emotional pain. It passes through as a wave of pain. I accept it when it’s there. I don’t resist it. I experience it. I know it’s there and what I don’t do is that I don’t feed it or renew it through thinking about past events. I don’t keep it alive through dwelling on it mentally and then it passes more quickly as a wave. You can accept that it’s there and it passes through you like a wave. The mistake that people make — and they don’t know they’re making it because nobody teaches them that it could be any different — is that they revive the pain through dwelling on it, on events and situations, mentally, after things have passed. That renews the emotion and, in that way, a painful emotion can be kept alive in people for a long, long time. Sometimes it can last months, years. Sometimes people keep alive things that happened twenty or thirty years ago. Not only that, but there are collective memories in certain nations, religions, and tribes that are kept alive over generations. It’s amazing and they don’t know they’re doing it. So, yes, pain passes through me, but I don’t keep it alive mentally. I try to let it pass through as quickly as possible and return to the present moment. It’s gone. It’s over. It’s passed through. Maybe I learned something from the situation or events and that’s fine, but then, return to the present moment. It’s always liberating to return to the present moment, here, now. What you can see. What you can perceive. I can feel myself breathing. I can feel the energy in my body. I’m back in the present moment and it’s gone. That’s how it works.

MP: You made me cry. I knew you were going to make me cry.

ET: That’s good. [Laughter] MP: I feel like this has been a really great therapy session. [Laughter] Thank you so much. ET: Thank you. It was a joy talking to you. “Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth” airs Sundays at 12 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

For the first time on television, Oprah presents her groundbreaking and wildly successful 2008 web series with spiritual leader Eckhart Tolle, based on his New York Times bestselling book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Oprah and Eckhart take viewers on a chapter-by-chapter journey through this special 10-week series, which has helped students awaken to their life’s purpose and has been viewed over 40 million times. These thought-provoking discussions, framed with brand-new content, will teach viewers how to focus and become more aware and present, and to begin to understand the motivations of the ego. Oprah and Eckhart create a true global classroom, answering questions via Skype, email and phone from readers all around the world who are fascinated by Eckhart’s ideas on presence and awakening. Oprah and Eckhart interact with real people dealing with real issues and give practical advice on how to apply the concepts of A New Earth in order to bring more peace and joy into people’s lives.

Op ra h W i n f r e y a nd Eck h art To lle fro m “S uper Sou l Su n day”

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Stop BY Carolina Vivas


Meditation helps break down our identification with chaos and pain.


Why meditation is more important than diet, exercise, and looking good. wish I had realized the importance of meditation a long time ago. For most of us, our biggest concern is looking good — smaller waist, toned muscles, ideal weight. We spend our money on diet pills, protein powders, and personal trainers. And then more on hairdressers, facial creams, nails, clothes, etc.

But what about the one thing that shapes our perceptions, our actions, and our lives — the mind? No one pays much attention to that.

I always thought the goal of meditation was to empty the mind or reach a thoughtless state, and that, to me, was extremely challenging and frustrating. Forcing the mind not to think is like forcing a kicking, screaming toddler to get dressed. So when my meditation teacher said, “What we do is, we don’t do much. Just be innocent and take it as it comes,” I felt an immediate sense of relief. After that first session, I remember seeing the world in technicolor. Everything seemed brighter, more defined, and I felt like I had slept for three hours. I made the commitment to meditate at least once a day for twenty minutes. In the beginning, my mind either raced so much that I couldn’t relax or I would fall asleep within ten minutes. But it doesn’t matter. If sleep comes, welcome it, because that means your body desperately needs rest. In a world where we are always on the go and glued to our devices, relaxation is what we all crave most. Meditation is like a reset button. It balances the nervous system and


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

gives the mind a break. But more importantly, it connects us to our source — whatever that means to you. When we unplug from the external stuff, we can better see things with love, open ourselves up to an abundance of creativity, and become more grounded. Stress fades and our troubles become more manageable. We all tend to operate from our story — the deeply ingrained beliefs and fears that keep us safe. Meditation helps break down our identification with chaos and pain. All of us want to be happy, but we look in all the wrong places. The ephemeral feeling of a new car, a new boyfriend, a nice butt, or a dream house doesn’t compare to the vast feeling of pure love that comes when you close your eyes and open yourself up to the unconditional happiness that is available to us all. Conditional happiness fades; it gets old, and is based on illusions. When you ask someone who they are, they will most always answer with a list of physical attributes, possessions, and achievements. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of our existence. Meditation helps us realize that we are much more than just a body and a mind. Don’t you want to find out the answer to the age old question, “Who am I and what is my purpose?”

Carolina Vivas is a yoga teacher and co-founder of, an online resource for yoga videos, programs, and informative articles. Her creative and challenging classes focus on strength, meditation, and breath control — take one online or at La Jolla Yoga Center in La Jolla, California.

Photo: K.C. Alfred

LISSA RANKIN i n t er v i e w: C H R IS G R O SS O

New York Times Bestselling Author Lissa Rankin on the power of the mind, ego, and magic wands. Chris Grosso: In a nutshell, can you describe how our minds can be just as effective — if not more effective — than medicine? Lissa Rankin: Our minds have the power to activate (or deactivate) the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms, which can be much more effective than many pharmaceuticals. For example, if you feel the love, intimacy, and sense of belonging that comes with being around nurturing loved ones, your nervous system shifts into relaxation response and the body is filled with oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins, and other hormones that can relieve pain better than morphine, with no side-effects or risks. But if you’re feeling fearful, worried, or lonely, your nervous system kicks into stress response, which increases your risk of heart disease and deactivates the immune system, putting you at risk of cancer and infection. What we think and feel may be even more critical to whole health than what we eat, how much we exercise, and how many supplements we take.

CG: What role does spirituality play in the Mind Over Medicine model? LR: We know that people with active spiritual practices, particularly those who participate in a spiritual community, live up to fourteen years longer than those who don’t. But the role of spirituality in health goes much deeper than whether you attend the church, the temple, or the mosque. Deep spiritual prac-


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

tice tends to shift the nervous system into relaxation response, not just during prayer, meditation, or yoga, but throughout the day. When your perspective shifts such that you feel more trust and faith and less fear, your health often improves, and you feel more vital. Yet, even those dealing with a chronic or even terminal illness can find benefit from spiritual practice. A spiritual shift in perspective from fear to faith lends meaning to even the darkest times, so even if an illness is considered “incurable,” faith heals, even when it doesn’t cure.

CG: Ego: Friend, foe, both, or neither? LR: Neither. I think of my ego, who I call “Victoria Rochester,” as a beloved child who’s safest when she’s strapped in the back of the car. Resisting her only agitates her and makes her act out. Better to observe her, recognize

her, love and appreciate her, but restrain her. Our smaller selves can only get us in trouble when we’re blind to how they show up. Once we illuminate how the ego operates, the larger part of us — call it the soul — tends to take the wheel to drive us to our most aligned destiny.

CG: What’s the last thing that inspired you to the point of tears? LR: A beautiful Cleveland Clinic video titled Empathy: The Human Connection To Patient Care. It reminds us we’re all going through hard times, so we must lead with kindness first.

CG: What’s the last thing that gave you a really hard belly laugh? LR: My daughter’s greatest piece of advice, “Never use anybody else’s magic wand.”

“When your perspective shifts such that you feel more trust and faith and less fear, your health often improves, and you feel more vital.”

CG: What are three of your favorite ‘80’s songs? C’mon, you know you have them. LR: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” Heart’s “Alone,” and Nena’s “99 Red Balloons.”

Lissa Rankin, M.D. is an integrative medicine physician, author, speaker, artist, and founder of the online health and wellness community Her book, Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, is a New York Times Bestseller.

Rainbeau Mars


interview: maranda pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive?

MP: Tell me about your latest project.

Rainbeau Mars: What makes me come alive is nature — swimming in the ocean, taking a hike, or just sitting on grass and looking at the sky, which always reminds me of the perfection that already exists when we are open to it. Also, listening to what makes my heart beat faster. For me, I find that somewhere between what is comfortable and what is just beyond. I like to call this, “embracing the edge.” Also, letting go of or clearing away whatever is dulling, blocking, or killing me slowly, including too much thinking, judging, or self-sabotaging, and doing my cleanse makes me feel alive.

RM: The 21 Day SuperStar Cleanse is my new book out this spring. It was a thrill to write (but also a lot of work!). This new book feels like a lifetime labor of love. It’s all about sharing from my heart, sharing what is most vulnerable to me, and creating a very real program that I am so grateful to have in my life. I’ve also just finished a documentary and am co-writing a TV show.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? RM: The connection that we are all so hungry for is within. It’s in our hearts and if we can live there now, we can stop the insane amounts of suffering. Photos: Jeff Skeirik (bikini) Craig Cameron Olsen (blue dress)

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? RM: I would say yoga, but I have to admit that at times, in order to get to some of my deadlines, appearances, or duties as a mother and wife accomplished, it gets neglected. Then it’s affirmations, practicing virtue, taking a bath, and doing a ten-minute meditation or visualization.

MP: What truth do you know for sure? RM: The truth is that there is an infinite amount of knowing that I have not even begun to scratch the surface of. For the little that I know, there is so much more that I don’t know. There is nothing more important than the heart. Not choosing to do yoga is like keeping one of the most valuable gifts ever received wrapped. Taking care of our bodies and simultaneously the planet in a more environmental way is one of the greatest ways we can be part of the solution. Looking to crystallize or awaken ourselves is worth far more in this walk of time in human form than simply going through the motions before we die. We are the only ones we can change.

Rainbeau Mars is an actress, author, and health, fitness, and beauty expert sought out by actors, models, and business moguls. She served as the Global Yoga Ambassador for Adidas and stars in her own yoga series on Lionsgate’s BeFit Channel. Her yoga and fitness DVDs have sold over two million copies. Her latest DVD, BeFit Yoga: 10-Minute Daily Yoga Fix, is now available. She is also co-starring in the comedy Wide Awake. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter, Jade Mars, and her husband, Michael.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Philip Seymour Hoffman and Me T O MM Y R O S E N


e want to understand the mystery of a man’s demise, particularly a man who had achieved so much in his career and who, by the nature of his work, was known across the globe. We are sobered once again as we face the misunderstanding that one’s outer world is an indicator of happiness rather than one’s inner world, which is the only place where true success can be measured.

Part of what hit so deeply about this loss was the emotional depth that Hoffman had plumbed to show us something about ourselves. He regularly visited emotional environments that few actors will ever choose to visit in their careers. We felt so much “with him” that it is as if we lost a friend and a teacher, and it is disorienting to lose a teacher to a disease that people assume indicates moral weakness. Many people feel let down. How could he fall from the place we had appointed him to? I’ll give you one possible explanation of what happened. Maybe, like so many, he was simply enthralled to death by the feeling produced by heroin as it seduces the human nervous system into the illusion that this is somehow better than living. You think that’s weakness? Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your background, you could not possibly stand toe-to-toe against this craving if it was initiated within you. It’s like having to fight a full-grown tiger with your hands tied behind your back. People who have crossed the line into acute addiction seem to need a few things, even after long periods of abstinence. The two main ingredients are a spiritual path and a community to support it. With these foundational


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

People who have crossed the line into acute addiction seem to need a few things, even after long periods of abstinence. The two main ingredients are a spiritual path and a community to support it. With these foundational elements in place, it is an absolute requirement that one spend one’s life expanding upon them.”

elements in place, it is an absolute requirement that one spend one’s life expanding upon them. I found my way through the 12 Steps and yoga. Others find theirs in different spiritual paths or therapeutic processes. Addiction is a disease of lack and we seem to need a spiritual experience to become whole again. It is also a disease of isolation and so, we must come into community – commonunity – to draw upon necessary resources, and to avoid being pulled down into morbidity. Philip Seymour Hoffman died at 46. I am 46. Previously, he was 23 years sober. In June, I will be 23 years sober. To say that his death hit home for me is an understatement. Somehow, he got cut off from the light and drifted back into a deadly behavior. Please do not let the message of his death be that the 12 Steps don’t work. Along with the teachings he left us in his movies, please hear his final teaching: Stay vigilant on this path of recovery. Work your program to the best of your ability. Keep your connection to each other and when you find the road to your own heart, walk it every day.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM




his may blow your mind, but the human body actually needs fat to function optimally. The body breaks fats down into fatty acids. Omega 3 and 6 are considered essential fatty acids (EFAs) because, though the body cannot make them efficiently, they are required for optimal function. So, you must get them from foods like seeds, nuts, fish, and grass-fed animal fats.

EFAs are building blocks for healthy cells and assist with all kinds of regulatory and developmental processes in the body, like brain, nervous system, adrenal, thyroid, liver, and blood pressure function, as well as immune response.

Omegas also add substantial support to the body’s appearance. Diets low in EFAs have been linked to skin problems, including eczema, dandruff, split nails, and brittle hair. Your skin may become dry, inflamed, and more prone to congestion, which can lead to further pigmentation, redness, infection, texture, and breakdown. Key to the production of the skin’s natural oil barrier, EFAs keep the skin hydrated, plump, youthful, and aptly protected. If including these exciting EFAs in our diets reaps such rewards, why not apply them topically as well? Omega 3 and 6 not only protect against sun damage, but actually help repair damage as well, by preventing the release of enzymes that destroy collagen. This helps fight fine lines, wrinkles, and the loss of elasticity. EFAs are also vital in prostaglandin formation, a natural antiinflammatory that reduces pain, swelling, and inflammation while encouraging blood circulation. Prostaglandin is beneficial for acne treatment, sunburn, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and wound healing, and as a rub for sore muscles and joints. The scalp and hair can become dry, flaky, and lackluster when deficient. By effectively penetrating the hair shaft to protect hair from UV exposure and pollution, EFAs help repair damaged follicles and promote hair growth.

by amy halman

Consider these omega fatty acid-rich oils in your skin or hair care routine:

Argan Oil: Over 80% polyunsaturated EFAs, plus Omega 9 and two times the Vitamin E of olive oil. Light and easily absorbed, it’s perfect for your face, hair, and body. However, it is extremely important to find 100% cold-pressed and unrefined argan oil. Refined versions lose over 60% of their essential fatty acid power! Marula Oil: Also lightweight, it contains the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9, in addition to one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants that you can find in an oil. Borage Oil: This has the highest known levels of plant-source Gamma Linoleic Acid (Omega 6). It’s difficult for your body to make GLA for itself, but it can be a huge boost to skin barrier function and soothing inflammation. Pumpkin Seed Oil: Also known as “green gold,” it’s one of the most nutritional oils, rich in Omega 3 and 6, Vitamin E and Zinc. It adds shine to hair, and provides protection to the hair follicle and the skin’s barrier function.

Amy Halman is the President + Formulator of ACURE, a skin, body, and hair care line based on scientific nutritional support to enhance the skin’s own ability to regenerate optimally. Clinically proven results without the use of gluten, synthetic preservatives, or fragrances. No parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals, or animal bi-products.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


iron deficiency ARE YOU RUNNING ON EMPTY?


One out of every four women struggles with iron deficiency and it is the most common single nutrient deficiency disease in the world. Fatigue, poor concentration, dark circles under the eyes, and physical weakness are keynote symptoms. In a recent study of women who complained of fatigue, 85% had low iron stores or iron deficiency. Although the risk of iron deficiency is typically associated with women and vegetarians, it is estimated that up to 80% of female athletes and 30% of male athletes may also be experiencing iron deficiency symptoms.

Iron has an affinity for oxygen. As part of the hemoglobin within red blood cells, iron enables the blood to carry oxygen to tissues within the body. And that’s just the beginning. Iron is also part of myoglobin, the substance that provides oxygen to muscles at the start of exercise or exertion. It’s needed for aerobic metabolism; by a variety of enzymes in the metabolism of energy; for liver detoxification; to protect cells from damage; to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a substance that helps fuel cells; and by the neurotransmitter systems, such as serotonin, that help with sleep and brain function.


How does a deficiency rob energy?

It is well known that female endurance athletes commonly develop iron deficiency, which can impair their performance. Only recently have we realized that even mild degrees of iron deficiency affect the ability to exercise. We are also finding out that it is not just heavyduty training that can lead to a deficiency, but moderate workouts as well. Research is also showing those new to exercise can easily develop iron deficiency.

A shortage of iron in the blood means that our cells are deprived of the oxygen they need to burn the body’s fuel. The problem is further compounded since iron is required to produce the ATP our cells use for fuel. With too little oxygen and too little fuel, instead of running on all eight cylinders, we run on two or three.

Why does iron deficiency make it hard to get through your workout? First, iron’s job is to carry oxygen around the body. So, if you are low in iron, you are low on oxygen. Second, iron deficiency reduces the muscles’ ability to use oxygen.

The good news is that iron supplementation has been shown to help improve exercise performance. Forty-one women between the ages of 18 and 33, who had a mild iron deficiency, when supplemented with 16 mg of iron per day improved their exercise endurance and iron levels in only six weeks. In another study, women receiving 10 mg of iron twice a day improved in muscle endurance by 15% and muscle strength by 26.5% compared to no improvement with the control group over a six-week period. It is time to start running on all eight cylinders.

Floradix is the best-selling iron supplement in North America and has been helping women reclaim their energy and vitality for over 60 years. It is an easily absorbed, plant-based, non-constipating, liquid iron supplement with no artificial additives or preservatives. Floradix is a low-dose supplement designed to prevent and treat iron deficiency.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Confessions turned

of a



By yulady saluti


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


oga came into my life at a very dark time, though I can see now that it was the perfect time for this gift. When life gives us a crappy situation, it’s up to us to find the bright side of that situation instead of playing the “Why me?” card.

We all have the ability to change our thoughts, and that’s why we all have the power to change our lives. This is one of the things I learned from yoga and – now that I’m a yoga teacher – it’s something I want my students to discover. Here is my story: On May 9, 2012, I was admitted to the hospital for my 20th surgery on a hernia repair. I had had a colostomy bag for four years because I was born with a tumor in my colon. When it was biopsied (I was in my early twenties), the incision got infected. The biopsy left me with a rectal vaginal fistula, a pesky colostomy bag, way-too-many more surgeries, and a bunch of internal and external scars. During pre-op, I told the doctor (who had been part of my medical ordeal for the past ten years) that I had a couple of lumps in my breast. “Don’t worry,” he said. “It’s probably nothing. But just to be sure, while you are under, I’ll go in and take a biopsy of the lumps.” About an hour later, I woke up to find my husband standing next to me, waiting for me to regain consciousness, again, just as he has been doing since the surgery I had exactly two weeks after our wedding. I blinked up at him and said, “Hey, babe. How did it go?” He looked back at me. “You have breast cancer, honey.” I had stage 2b breast cancer. I was facing a double mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. And no, the 20th colo-rectal surgery had not cured that problem, either. I could have despaired at that point. I could have grabbed onto the “Why me?” card and played it for all it was worth. You see, I have played that card, and it’s really easy to do. Really easy. In fact, it’s so easy to do that I have played it several times in the past.

Let me take you back to my early twenties. I was the single mom of a beautiful little twoyear-old. As a single mom, I had to work my butt off to support the two of us, and I only had a high school diploma and no special training to rely on. I worked as a waitress all day and bartended at night. My sister and my cousin lived with me so that someone would always be with my daughter. They were such a help – I couldn’t have managed without them. But I was tired all the time. I felt overwhelmed. I also felt sorry for myself – everything in my life was hard. I wanted to have some fun, too. All the folks I saw at work were having fun. Why not me? I was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia. From my earliest years, I knew what cocaine did to people. I grew up afraid of drugs and even in high school I stayed away from the hard stuff. Until one Saturday night. I’d just come back from having my first colon surgery. I had worked all day and into the night. I was sitting at the bar after we closed, and a friend offered me some coke. It wasn’t my first offer or even my tenth, but for some reason my thought process was, What the heck? My life sucks right now. My boyfriend hasn’t called all day. I barely made any money in tips, my salary is crap, my butt hurts from the surgery, and now I have huge medical bills in addition to all my other problems. Why not? I fell in love with that first line of coke. Suddenly, all my problems were gone. I no longer cared about my reality; this new feeling was much better. I partied all my troubles away for the next few months. I worked all day and partied all night. Some days, I’d stay up all night and go straight to work. I looked forward to coke all the time, suffering when I couldn’t get it. What an awful feeling that was, and yet I kept doing it night after night. Finally, I was having fun. At that time, my boyfriend lived in Brooklyn, and I lived in New Jersey, so we didn’t see very much of each other. One of the times I went to visit him, we went out with his friends. I drank too much and mentioned doing coke to his friend. She told him what I had said. Unaware that I had been doing coke for the past three months, he was shocked. He confronted me about it, and I denied everything.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


(continued) Two weeks later, he showed up at my house unexpectedly and, yes, I was high. He sat with me until the morning and we talked. I faced the fact that I had a problem. I hadn’t seen my daughter in weeks. My baby, my life, the light of my eyes — I had chosen coke over her. Suddenly, I hated the person I saw when I looked in the mirror. That woman, the one who’d ignored her child, had tried breaking up the relationship between two friends. I had no idea why I’d tried to do that. I couldn’t even remember much about it. I had played the “Why me?” card, and it had led me into a very dark place. I hated myself. My boyfriend found me a bed at a 28-day rehab, so I packed my bags and off I went. There I learned all about addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. I also learned that my 28 days were nothing like Sandra Bullock’s 28 Days. Fresh out of rehab, I decided to go to AA instead of NA. I’d do 90 meetings in 90 days, change people, places, and things — I’d be the poster child for rehab, and my life would be fixed. Later that month, I got sick again. I had a second colon surgery. I spent a week in the hospital alone because everybody, including my boyfriend, had to work. No one came to visit me. I felt alone and very sorry for myself. I got so depressed that I ended up in the psychiatric ward twice in the next four months. There, they put me on antidepressants. When I got out, I continued to go to AA, but my heart wasn’t in it.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Rehab got me off coke, but it hadn’t fixed my life. I tried to keep everything from my parents. They worked so hard. I didn’t want to worry them, but they could see something was wrong. They decided that, for my birthday, they would send me to Colombia for a month. They thought a vacation would be good for me. Colombia. I don’t even have to tell you what I did most of the time I was there. I came back from Colombia hating myself. I moved to Long Island with my boyfriend. I went back to AA. I stayed sober for a while, but I never felt that happiness and the joy that the people of AA were talking about. My boyfriend and I broke up after four years together because we grew apart and our relationship was just not strong enough. I moved back to Jersey, and the dreary cycle continued. I’d do coke again. I’d hate myself. I’d quit. I’d go to AA. I’d do some more coke. I’d quit...

Yoga is my happy place, which (I think) makes me my happy place. Because of yoga, I can find the bright side of a crappy situation. So now — when life has served me cancer on a silver platter — instead of playing the “Why me?” card, I have chosen to share my journey with the world via YouTube. I hope to bring awareness to women about the importance of checking their breasts every month. I hope to show my readers that despair is not the only choice. I don’t ever want to go back to that dark place again. It was very hard to get out of, even with the love and the help of many people. For me, yoga was the light in my darkness.

And then, during one of the quitting times, I found yoga.

Perhaps it can be yours, as well.

In my very first yoga class, I felt the happiness and the peace I’d been searching for. And I still feel this way. Practicing yoga, I lose track of time. My mind stops thinking about the future or the past. I feel whole. I am able to just breathe and be aware of the breath, to be present and only present. I let go of everything else.

Yulady Saluti is a mother, wife, yogi, former ostomate and breast cancer survivor. She is in love with life and everything that it has in store for her. When she is not hanging out with her family, she spends most of her time teaching and practicing yoga. This was first published on

Photos: Sherry Sutton Photography

juicy springtime yoga


pring is the time of year when all our wild and untamed sides come out to play. Life is injected with creative forces that explode in so many colorful directions that there is no containing them. The fertilizing choreography never stops and excitedly beckons our participation. When we take this dynamic, springtime energy into our yoga practice, we join the natural cycle of growth and feel ourselves opening and moving in new ways. Movement is not only at the heart of asana practice, but it is also synonymous with life. Springtime explodes with movement unlike any other season. In yoga, we synchronize the movements of our body with our breath. In turn, our consciousness moves into more serene states – ones in which our awareness grows exponentially.

“At the height of artistic expression, the line between us and The Universe becomes deliciously blurred. That’s when pure pleasure rushes in — a kind of ananda, or bliss.” Everything grows in the spring, when creative juices flow with the utmost ease. Drawing from the energy of the spring season to fuel our yoga practice, many of us find ourselves spontaneously moving into artistic expression of one form or another. Yoga and artistic expression are two of the most powerful ways we can stretch beyond old limits, and into a space in which previous definitions of our former selves have no bearing. When we pour ourselves completely into our artistic creations, we mirror the total absorption

BY Katarina Silva

that yogic texts define as meditation, or dhyana. Suddenly, every moment has the potential to break us out of our limited perspectives and help us let go of rigidness. In making art, just as in an asana, we soften. This softening aligns us with springtime, and makes the birthing of our new selves so much easier. Like an asana for our whole beings, art invites us to flex into new shapes as we release ourselves. In doing so, we are transformed. And the transformations we can assume are as endless as the variety of art produced on our planet. At the height of artistic expression, the line between us and The Universe becomes deliciously blurred. That’s when pure pleasure rushes in — a kind of ananda, or bliss. In yoga, we aim to let that euphoria be who we are. Part of that experience of being alive is to express ourselves — to exist in that state in which the bliss is so bountiful that it overflows onto those around us. Spring is that juicy time in which the earth overflows with blissfulness. It’s Mother Nature going wild on her canvass and inviting us to join her. Like the yogis of the past, we amp up our yoga practice by collaborating with this most fertile of seasons and inviting the seeds of our practice to burst open. I invite you to just breathe and let it happen.

Katarina Silva is a self-portraiture artist yogini who thrives on the spontaneous thrill of creating all her images in ten seconds. Her autobiographical art is characterized by the mysterious absence of her complete face. View her art at Redbubble, find her column at elephant journal, and connect with her on Facebook & Twitter.

Photo: Katarina Silva M A N T R A M A G . C OM


a twist Blame It On

of Magic B y B E E B O SN A K


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


have always believed in magic – that brilliant sense of knowing that anything was possible even if science or my schoolmates didn’t support it and even when I couldn’t access it. Since childhood, magic has always seemed to be a living, pulsating door, waiting for me, anticipating the day I would find the key and revel in its possibilities. Well, that day has become every day for me.

Some may call it luck, some say it’s good karma, and others may believe that what I call magic is some reward from the miracle man above. I say it is none of these, but instead a state of being that raises your vibration to coincide with the dimension where magic dwells. The magical state is open, free, flowing, and joyful. Here are some ways to access it: • Magic can only happen in an open space. An open heart and open mind free of anger, sadness, fear, and prejudice. If you are nurturing old sadness and regrets, then you are full and there’s simply no room for magic. If you are angry and resentful, then you are

Some may call it luck, some say it’s good karma, and others may believe that what I call magic is some reward from the miracle man above."

closed and magical events cannot get into your life. Breathe deeply, meditate, move mindfully, forgive, and let go, for these are the methods for creating space. • Magic requires that you live in the now. Attention is relaxed and focused on the time at hand. Living in the past or the future eclipses any potential for magic to occur in the present. Magic requires all of your attention, in the right here, right now. Relaxed attention is an open space. • Magic thrives on optimism. The ancient Hindu Tantric teachings tell us that optimism welcomes the divine flow of life, while pessimism fends it off. Optimism is not giddy or delusional, but rather grounded, clear, and soft. Optimism is an open space. • Magic needs movement. Not frenetic, obsessive, or stalking movement, but the movement that confirms you will take action on what is in front of you and let the chips fall where they may. Paralysis and avoidance are the ingredients of failure and disappointment. Movement is an open space.

Listening to, trusting, and acting on your intuitive inner guidance is another form of saying you’re being led by magic. However, like any other art or discipline, this requires a certain commitment to stay with it. For most of us, the practice of allowing our intuition to guide us is really a new way of life, very different from what we’ve been taught. If we’ve been conditioned to try to approach life entirely rationally, to follow certain rules (or to automatically rebel against them), or to do what we think other people want us to do, then beginning to follow our own inner sense of truth is a major shift. Most often, this is a very uncomfortable shift. For some of us, magic may seem like hocus pocus nonsense, and, for others, that’s how we live. I am one of those others, who blames everything on a twist of magic.

Turkish born, British bred, Bee is a yoga teacher and reiki healer living in NYC. Her classes are based on self-compassion, strength and courage. Visit for more info on her signature 'Heal Yourself’ workshops and retreats.

Photo: Teddy Sczudlo M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Mea g a n Mc C rary

declare your greatness


hether by nature or nurture, I’ve always been competitive. I’ve been competing since I can remember. At home, I strived for perfect behavior; in school, I got straight A’s; in sports, I won blue ribbons and broke records. If I fell short, well, there was no need to reprimand me; I judged, sentenced, and punished myself harsher than my parents possibly could. I’m what I like to call a “scorekeeper.” I’m constantly keeping score, whether it’s against my colleagues, strangers on the Internet, or, most often, myself. It’s exhausting. The worst part is that I repeatedly fall short. There’s always something I should be doing, something someone else is doing better, something I can use to beat myself up. On the rare occasions I do score higher, it isn’t as if I feel great about myself, or at least not for long. I’m plagued. No matter how much I accomplish, how many books I publish, how many


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

students sing my praises, how much weight I lose, toned I get, or clean I eat, inevitably it’s not enough. I’m not enough. I will never be enough as long as I continue to use external markers to determine my value. Rather than proving my worth to the world, I need to mend the relationship I have with myself. To survive, I have to learn the elusive art of self-acceptance in hopes of one day experiencing self-love. I have to stop judging myself on a scale of perfection and start recognizing my own intrinsic worth separate from my external downfalls and accomplishments. The thing with keeping score is that there will always be someone who does it better, who can do more advanced poses, or who has achieved more than you. You could spend your whole life trying to win and inescapably fall short. Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” The truth is: You are enough, you always have been, and so have I. Caught up in the game of comparing, we lose sight of our own gifts. The

remedy is to become so rooted in who we are that we no longer look outside ourselves for affirmation — that’s what yoga is about. How good are you at being yourself? As far as I’m concerned, the majority of us aren’t giving ourselves enough credit. It’s about time we start. Play up your accomplishments, big or small; pat yourself on the back; compliment yourself; let yourself feel good about what it is that you do best. And at the end of the day, remember that it isn’t what you do that makes you special, it’s who you are. Do you. Affirm yourself and forget about the score.

Meagan McCrary is a yoga teacher and writer with a passion for helping people find more comfort, clarity, compassion and joy, on the mat and in their lives. She is the author of Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga, a comprehensive encyclopedia of prominent yoga styles.

i n t er v i e w: D aph n e Z u n i g a

“Everybody wants to be acknowledged by another person. Touching is healing. Having someone care about you is a huge impact. Love is a huge impact.”



Daphne Zuniga: Will you tell me the story of how you went to your publisher about your new book?


Tara Guber: I thought that if someone was going to sell my book, they should know what they are selling. You don’t sell every book like it’s the same book. So, I said, “This is on me. Get your whole company together and we’ll do a contact yoga class.” It was so interesting. What we really got to see was how people make contact at the workplace. There is such a thing as corporate contact, which is how people get along. How do they communicate together? Are they committed? Are they responsible? Do they have passion to do this work? Do they trust each other? This is what makes corporations successful. So, they’re all in this room. The people who were on the floor were the ones who were committed to the process. Then, there were the people who were standing, looking at the people who were doing it. Then, there were the people who were standing and not paying attention whatsoever. Those people, that’s another story. [laughter] It’s such a reflection about how they deal with life and how they show up. It was obvious that the people who were participating were having fun, didn’t have fear, and didn’t have as many insecurities because they were simply there.

on the foundation of relationships & making corporations successful

And then there were people who acted as if it wasn’t even going on. I don’t know how they worked in the workplace, but that wouldn’t be the first person who I would want to work at my workplace. So, we got to see how people work!


You started out by saying that you don’t think people know how to do relationships.


One of the reasons that I did this book was that I would hear, outside in the world, women say, “Men are a pain in the ass,” and “I don’t care about relationships,” and “I would rather not be in one.” Men are saying, “Girls are this…” and women are saying, “Men are this…” It’s not the truth because I think everyone wants to be in a relationship. Well, that’s my point of view. Everybody wants to be acknowledged by another person. Touching is healing. Having someone care about you is a huge impact. Love is a huge impact. Making contact, staying connected, feeling like there are people out there who understand who you are and who care about you – I can’t imagine anyone not wanting this. So I thought, “Well, how do I give them the tools?” People choose very surface-level things for relationships. It

could be how a woman looks. It could be how much money a man has. It could be all these surface-level things, but the truth is, when the bank accounts are gone and the woman doesn’t look the same way, the relationship dissolves and everyone starts saying, “Well, it’s his fault,” or “It’s her fault,” or “What happened here?” What happened is that you didn’t build a foundation that was strong enough to support a relationship. In a singles practice, it’s the foundation to root, to ground. In a doubles practice, it’s a foundation of trust. If the relationship you have is not built on trust, well, just like a building, the first shake that comes along, it will collapse. That’s what happens to relationships and nobody understands that trust is important or forgiveness is important or truth and honesty and telling people really how you feel — really what’s on your mind — is all important.

Philanthropist, activist, educator and practitioner of yoga for 40 years, Tara Lynda Guber is author of Contact Yoga, the acclaimed guide for utilizing yoga to strengthen relationships. She’s also the founder of YogaEd, Education First!, L.A.’s Accelerated School, and is an owner of the Golden State Warriors and L.A. Dodgers.




Ceremony by A n a Forre s t,

Medicine woman, creatrix of Forrest Yoga, and author of Fierce Medicine 34

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


he fields of Ceremony are deep and vast. I use Ceremony to connect to my Spirit. It inspires me. Part of my inspiration is learning to celebrate my successes and assess where I need to get my life in balance. Ceremony brings clarity about what to do next, whether it’s dealing with grief or how to craft the next chapter of life. It’s also about setting a guiding intent. To sit in Ceremony is to make a conscious decision to shift into sacred space. Ask for and listen to guidance from your Spirit, the Sacred Ones, Jesus, or whomever it is that you listen to. People start thinking about their Spirit and head for Ceremony when they’re in trouble or dying. Use Ceremony more often! Not just to fix what’s wrong — also include savoring your gratitude for what’s working well. Then, focus on bringing in more of what you want to live with. A really useful principle of Ceremony is “Design of Energy.” This is literally the action of deciding and creating what you want in your life, as well as choosing how to dance with the big forces and experiences that are beyond your control. When working with Design of Energy, ask yourself, “What are the brilliant filaments that I want to weave into the masterpiece of my own life?”

The Design of Energy is this: If you want something in your life — and we all do — then what are you doing about it? Do something! Instead of saying, “If I pray to the Sacred Ones, they will bring me my motorcycle,” put your desires in your prayers and your intent and take action. Each action builds a road to the future you desire. Here are some good steps: • Start a motorcycle fund, add to it daily. • Find your closest motorcycle course. • Sign up and take the course. • Get your motorcycle driving license. • Talk to your friends that ride motorcycles. • Go honestly inside and talk to your fears. Find out what they need for them to be eased, and then they won’t sabotage you in an attempt to protect you. Do what is needed to alleviate your fears. What safety agreements do you need to build into this Design of Energy? For example, agree to wear a helmet; ride sober; stay off your bike if emotionally distraught. These are some of my rules that helped move the self-sabotage out of the way, so that I could have a motorcycle and enjoy that brilliant filament in the weave of my life. That's a start. You need to take action and not be like a two-year-old waiting to be fed by the big momma in the sky. Be your own problem-solver. I really like that. I depend on my resources, which include

prayers, asking for help, and taking the actions I’m capable of each day. Design of Energy is crucially important in Ceremony and in living the life you truly desire. I challenge you to care enough to experiment with designing the life you deeply desire. People can get really hung up on having everything be perfect in their Ceremony. They end up falling all over themselves or feeling like a fake. Bring in some playfulness. It’s ok. It’s your Ceremony. If you get mixed up and light your candles in a direction other than what you read in some book…it’s alright! Your Spirit will be delighted by your learning process.

Here’s a very simple Ceremony for you: • Get up in the morning (go pee first so that you're not distracted by your bladder!). Sit up straight. Take many long breaths. • Focus…Go deep inside. • Set your intent. The intent could be for the next few minutes or for the next hour. For example: • “I want to stay connected to every breath.” • “I want to breathe into my low back and release the pain.” • “I want to spend 30 minutes on my yoga mat, be present, and not flake out.” Or you can set the intent for the day, which I highly recommend. An example that I use is, “I want to see and be touched in my heart by something in Beauty.” We operate on auto-

pilot and forget to perceive the truth of the Mystery we live in. Ask, “Can I open myself to feeling Beauty at least once a day?” There are many different ways to be touched by Beauty — feeling the pleasure of a pose or, when you’re having sex with your partner, to really feel the pleasure of the sensual unfolding of what’s happening. Instead of just trying to get to an orgasm, whatever you’re focusing on, actually feel it. Invite the experience to dance in your heart. My daily intent this year is, “I will feel love move through me three times today.” I’m excited to quest for all the different ways that I can get love to move through me. I choose to focus my breath and actions to nourish and grow my neuroreceptors for love, joy, delight, and ecstasy. As you grow in Ceremony, you become more adept at it, just like in any other skill. My dear reader, practice and build skill in bringing 100% of yourself into your personal Ceremony. That makes the difference. You are the vital, precious heart of your Ceremony.

Ana’s book Fierce Medicine is a great way to discover Ceremonies and tools for designing your life into a masterpiece. Visit for information about Forrest Yoga.

Photos: Sofia Van Der Dys M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Maranda Pleasant: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? Dr. Habib Sadeghi: Be Love Now. I’ve learned on my spiritual journey that love isn’t really something we do; it’s what we are. Think about that for a minute. If I say, “I love you,” that implies a giver/ receiver relationship that’s based in duality. If we understand that at the core of our very essence we are love, that transcends the old paradigm. It means that if I’m love and you’re love too, then there’s absolutely no separation between us. In that consciousness, I will care for you exactly as I care for myself because we are one; we are love. There’s plenty of food, money and medicine to fix the world’s problems. What’s required now is for us to wake up to our true identity. When we do, the rest will follow suit.

Self-love is what puts us in flow with the universe, but to achieve that, we have to go through the process of self-forgiveness.

MP: How do you handle emotional pain? HS: Having experienced several traumas in my past, I understand the profound importance of allowing painful emotions to flow through us, as they happen, no matter how dark and scary they may be. The alternative is to have these negative energies stagnate in the body and create illness later in life. I find it’s best to follow the emotion into the experience, rather than resist it. I don’t judge it as good or bad. I just let it unfold. Without judgment, my body can discharge the negative emotions somatically, while my heart helps me to understand what the experience is trying to teach me. I can’t do that if I’m resisting the problem, fighting it and trying to make it

Dr. Habib Sadeghi go away. That only creates frustration and suffering for myself. We must go into the experience without judgment and look for the lesson, or as Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.” MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? HS: I know that how I react to a problem is the problem. So, by always checking in with myself and staying conscious of my reactions, I can keep most situations in perspective. Everything that happens to me is mirroring a part of myself. That’s how I look at it. I meditate in the mornings and evenings. That’s a definite. If I’m struggling with a decision or some other issue, I’ve had wonderful experiences with stream-of-consciousness writing immediately as I come out of meditation, when my mind is clear. Often times, that will reveal what I’ve been looking for. MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life?


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


HS: It’s that self-love is absolutely essential for any kind of personal transformation, whether it be health-related, financial, relationship-oriented or anything else. Self-love is what puts us in flow with the universe, but to achieve that, we have to go through the process of self-forgiveness. I detail that process in my book, Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss. MP: What truth do you know for sure? HS: Love heals. When we apply love to the places inside of us that are hurting, healing happens. I’m living proof of it.

Dr. Habib Sadeghi is the co-founder of Be Hive of Healing, an integrative health center based in Los Angeles and author of WITHIN: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss. He is regularly sought after as an expert in the fields of nutritional therapy, dietary supplementation and detoxification for chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Ananda Giri Senior Faculty, One World Academy

interview: gina murdock

Gina Murdock: What is the mission of One World Academy? Ananda Giri: The vision of One World Academy is to bring about a revolution in the totality of one’s thinking. The individual comes upon an awareness that frees him/her from sorrow and the misery born of self-centric thinking. One awakens to the interconnection of all existence. Free of the illusion of separation, one realizes the inseparability of all life and acts from this new awareness. Actions arising from this new state of being will no longer be isolated or limited to oneself, but will also include the well-being of the other.

GM: What can people who don’t have a lot of time or money do to become more content in daily life? AG: It may be true that all of us living on this planet do not have the same or equal opportunity to be equally rich or to live an equally comfortable life, for that might be dependent on many factors outside of our control. All of us, nevertheless, share an equal opportunity to be happy, as this inner state of being is not determined by any of our external circumstances. So, yes, it is absolutely possible for every single one of us, irrespective of our gender, age, religion, class, culture or creed,

We live in a free universe and no one or nothing dictates the fate of our inner state of being.” to live a life free of inner suffering. Happiness is a choice. Is the happiness or unhappiness we experience dependent on our life circumstances or is it a result of the meanings we attach to them? Is the quality of our life determined by our life situations themselves or is it defined by our responses to them? I would say the journey to freedom from inner suffering begins with an honest enquiry into these questions. Suffering does not happen by chance nor is it the work of fate. It is a result of our own thinking processes. By bringing total attention to our every reaction in thought, it is indeed possible to free ourselves from this suffering. We live in a free universe and no one or nothing dictates the fate of our inner state of being.

If someone is aspiring to live an extraordinary quality of life, then it is necessary that one dedicate sufficient time and energy to make it happen. Growth doesn’t happen automatically. One needs to work for it. We are not talking of long hours of daily spiritual practice or many months of spiritual retreat, but just enough time to bring attention to one’s inner state of being. There are no shortcuts.

Ananda Giri is senior faculty at One World Academy and is currently 38 years of age. He has been teaching for more than 20 years and is known as a bold and fearless spiritual teacher who helps revolutionize the way you see and experience life. Mentored by the founders of OWA, Krishna ji and Preetha ji, he has relentlessly pursued the path of self-discovery.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


by fa i t h h u n t er

my haitian love affair

n late 2013, Lizandra Vidal, a yoga instructor who previously lived in DC but relocated to Haiti a year ago, asked if I was interested in teaching yoga and supporting her efforts in Haiti. My response was simple — “SURE!” The reason I said yes goes beyond and is not the American desire to do “good work.” It is connected to the African, Native American, and French roots that pour through my Louisiana bloodline and the “sista love” connection I have with all women. We are carbon copies of one another. Regardless of the languages we speak and our countries of birth, as women we feel each other from the heart. Our lives are different, but we are all at risk of abuse, rape, and violence based on power and control. On my initial ride from the airport into the seemingly chaotic downtown of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I knew from the pulse of the city that I was home. There’s a powerful sensation I always feel when I return to my place of birth, Louisiana. Oddly enough, the very same breath of comfort poured into my soul as I watched cars, moto-taxis, and hundreds of people move about in their daily routine. My eyes periodically locked with several beings, and our spirits merged in a wave of cosmic oneness. This was the start of my love affair with Haiti.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

My trip to Haiti was not a “mission vacation,” but rather the continuous expression of divinity in action. It is my dharma, my ultimate purpose in life to be present and give from my heart. It was an opportunity to connect with the women and children of this beautiful country on common ground. Although there are challenges and a mix of daily struggles in this country of mountains, I opted to drop into a place of just being. “Island time” became my friend and Haiti soon became my lover. As in many developing countries, women in Haiti are largely underserved and make up a large portion of the at-risk population. Inspired by Lizandra’s commitment to empower girls and women in Haiti, my response came from a place of knowing we are all one. Lizandra moved to Haiti to teach yoga fulltime, understanding the principle that when we invest in girls and women, the whole community benefits. To date, over 10,000 NGOs and international organizations have worked in Haiti since the earthquake. Many of them focus on stabilizing the country’s infrastructure; however, Lizandra’s efforts, Project Zen Empowerment and Ayiti Yoga Outreach, go beyond providing service to others. Her projects are rooted in giving people the option to experience peace of mind and heart. Through the practice of yoga and meditation, the inner-self is fertilized and the outer-self is stabilized to handle the struggles of day-today life. You may still be wondering why I fell in love with Haiti. The only answer I can give is that when I am there, I feel grounded. Like in Louisiana, there’s a deep, warm vibration infused in the people, music, and culture of Haiti that heats my soul. I feel plugged into the source of spirit and wrapped affectionately in a blanket of resilience. Regardless of the fight, Haitians seem to have a resourceful way of responding and recovering, which is a fundamental quality many of us have lost in the modern world. We are consumed by gadgets, express feelings via text, and experience life in an instant. We rarely view ourselves as spiritual beings, give respect to our ancestors, or make time to heal and connect purely with another. As a result, we are helpless when a real crisis challenges our ability to cope. My yoga in Haiti was about breathing heartto-heart. Within my first 48 hours, I taught yoga to Haitian women and expats, played and practiced with a delightful group of school children that once resided in tent cities, delivered yoga mats to girls in an afterschool program operated by the YWCA, and hiked down a hill to visit the two-room home of a young lady that practices with Lizandra, lives with nine of her relatives, and wants to teach yoga. These hours of extreme emotions and spiritual discomfort pulled on my heart in the way you yearn for your lover to return home. The moment my palms came together to acknowledge the divinity in a group of school children, they all ran over with excitement to seal the practice in a way that ignited

photoS: kristin Adair

“Through the practice of yoga and meditation, the inner-self is fertilized and the outer-self is stabilized to handle the struggles of day-to-day life.” my spirit. I soaked in each moment with an open heart filled with passion. By the third day, I found myself drifting into a place of comfort, a simple state of knowing I am right where I belong, in the arms of my lover…Haiti. Heartbeat, rhythm, the pulsating earth vibration of souls rooted in spirit, I bow, I release and I surrender to your will. I am you and I long to kiss your feet, my sweet Haiti.

As Lizandra and I move forward, we are excited to co-host a service/culture/yoga retreat in Haiti, June 27 - July 5, 2014. The retreat is open to all, and we are thrilled to share the beauty of Haiti with the world. It will fuel your soul, transform your spirit, and invigorate your yoga practice like you have never experienced before. Our most powerful expression of love will come in the form of a Summer Yoga Teacher Intensive starting July 14. We are calling it the Spiritually Fly ChangeMaker Teacher Training. Inspired by the women of Haiti’s efforts to nurture themselves and change their communities via the practice of yoga, Lizandra and I decided to develop a 200-hour yoga training that certifies yoga teachers and imparts the skills of community organizing, empowerment, and social change. Anyone can attend the training program; however, we are raising money to sponsor three Haitian women and one American woman in the program. Upon completion of the training, these four women will also be given financial support to implement yoga outreach efforts in their own communities. If you are interested in supporting these women, please donate or become a corporate sponsor at — search Spiritually Fly.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Cultivating love and compassion on our internal battlefield

B Y chr i s g ro s s o


It’s a beautiful spring day and you’re at the local skatepark working on some new tricks. Everything’s going great — that is, until your wheel gets caught in a crack, sending you flying off your board, which results in a broken arm. The pain you experience from that broken arm is brutal, but it is what it is until you get to the hospital and are given medication. Most of the pain we experience on a daily basis, however, isn’t like this, and there is something we can do about it — right now. Many humans gravitate towards suppressing uncomfortable thoughts and emotions because we fear the temporary discomfort they create, but what we don’t realize is that by suppressing them, we’re perpetuating an endless cycle, creating more of the same (what’s the definition of insanity again?). The following is a practice I’ve used for years that has profoundly changed my relationship with unnecessary pain and suffering and made life a whole hell of a lot easier to navigate. May it do the same for you. (Do the following with eyes closed when possible.)


When you become aware of negative thoughts and emotions, rather than suppressing them, identify and acknowledge them.


Become clear on what the specific upset is by identifying the thoughts that are bothering you. Are they self-judgment or maybe bad memories? Any thought that causes you disease is applicable.


Next, identify the emotions arising in you as a result of these thoughts. Perhaps they include sadness, depression, anger, or frustration.


Slowly scan your body from head to toe looking for specific areas of discomfort. This might be your chest tightening or your stomach turning, shooting pains in your arms or legs, tension in your head, or any combination thereof.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Once you’ve identified the thoughts, emotions, and physical discomforts, explore the imagery they create. Do you see colors, shapes, or figures? Are they abstract or clear? Where in your body do you see them? Let your thoughts and emotions show you the imagery while you simply become aware of them.


When you have the mental image of what your thoughts, emotions, and pain look like (and if there’s no image, this practice still works), picture yourself holding the image (or lack thereof) the same way a mother holds a baby — wrapped in a warm blanket, held with loving care. Then, extend to the pain and hurt the sincerest compassion that you can.


Mentally (or verbally) acknowledge the image’s presence, letting it know that you’re aware it’s there and that you’ll hold it with compassion and love until it’s ready to go, naturally dissipating of its own accord. This usually happens within a minute, but sometimes it takes a little longer.

As we bring attention to the image of our painful thoughts and emotions, tending to it with an open heart, we’re doing the most natural thing we can — expressing love. Instead of ostracizing our uncomfortable thoughts and emotions and their subsequent discomfort, we show them complete and inclusive love. It’s a love they’ve never known before, and a love many of us have never known before either. And through this love and acceptance of pain, our real healing can begin. Chris Grosso is an independent culturist, recovering addict, and professor with en*theos Academy. He created the popular hub for all things alternative, independent, and spiritual with, and continues the exploration with his debut book, Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality.

D a n a D a m ara



A lesson in becoming new

s yoga “teachers,” people assume that we have it all together. But the truth is we are just like everyone else, stepping onto our mat to find balance, strength, and grace. It can be challenging, preaching to a room full of people – “Take a breath and leave behind judgment, competition, and expectation” – when your own life is in chaos. But yoga means accepting where you are in any given moment and finding beauty in the discomfort. And by the way, we have all been there at one point or another.

in your highest light, at your most vibrant frequency, and in your most expanded love. The rest will take care of itself.

Transitions can be unsteady when everything is crumbling at your feet. Shedding layers reveals a deep, unfamiliar vulnerability. Releasing patterns to create a new version of yourself takes work. A mid-life re-birth is definitely humbling. But the best thing you can do with this practice is to keep practicing, even if you don’t understand it all. Because sooner or later, your life will align with your heart’s desire to soar from a place that is imbued with truth, freedom, and love.

Be kind to yourself on this journey. Be kind to others always. And when you run into someone you haven’t seen in a while, look at him or her as if they were someone you have never met before, because in reality, they are. They are brand new and so are you.

It may take years to stand on your mat in complete non-judgment. It takes trust and commitment to hear the whisper of your heart above the judgment of others and the old patterns of self-sabotage. Make a commitment to hear the voice that motivates you, inspires you, and nurtures your soul. Your yoga practice is not about the asana. The practice is about how you react when you fall out of a pose on your mat. It’s about how you get back up when you radically transform your life. It’s the space you make for your wings to grow. It’s a profound journey to your truth and if you want to share deeply, you must dig deeply into your own story with tenderness. You must appreciate the entire ride, so that when you are naked and raw, you still embody strength and balance. The practice is to breathe beyond the judgment and reveal truth. The practice is accepting what is. The practice is to hold space for every being on this planet regardless of what you think. The practice is to be you,

I believe people change over their lifetimes. I believe most people evolve with faith, courage, and trust in who they are becoming. If we judge others along the way, while they are learning to walk (or fly), we are inhibiting their growth, and judging them on what we think their progress should look like.

Dana Damara, momma, yogini, author, truth seeker. “On the mat, my passion is proper alignment, powerful breath, and effortless flow. Time on your mat is sacred space where you find more depth, authenticity, and integrity in your life,” Damara says. She believes that how you show up on your mat can be directly related to how you show up off your mat.

da na da m a r a . c o m

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


BEYOND thE looking GLASS B Y j e n n i f er alle n


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


A flyer taped to a bulletin board inside a Lower East Side bar – Experience Yoga, Beginners Welcome. To be held in the basement of a church on the east side of Tompkins Square Park. Sponsored by a guy named Life.

" W i t h t i m e , t hat i n n er v o i ce ha s s o f t e n ed f ro m a n g e r t o c o m pa s s i o n , f r u s t r at i o n t o a c c e p ta n c e . "

Manhattan, circa 1985, Tompkins Square, home to the homeless, the pushers, the punks, the dopers, artists, activists, and people like me during the winter in the coldest month of my late-blooming youth, searching, yearning. Yoga in a church sounded good.

Down the narrow church steps I went, to a small, candlelit room where two rows of yogis sat, waiting, facing one another. No mirrors. The teacher calmly guided us through chants and deep physical movements – all the while reminding us to simply witness our breath. A head rush after every forward bend. A guttural release after each back bend. Tears in savasana. Trash swirled in the winter wind as I stepped out of the church much later. How long had I been down there? Was there still daylight? Some guy, carrying a bagged-up bottle, staggered toward me, seeming to say something, but then just stopped and stared at me. I felt completely undressed. Exposed. Naked. I headed toward the nearest corner sign to figure out which way was homeward, west. All along the way, every passing stranger seemed to be looking right through me. I bundled up tighter, walking the long walk across the alphabets and avenues until I reached my one-room walk-up, where I bolted the police lock and exhaled… What was that?! I wasn’t sure. But I kept going back. The practice was hard. The teacher didn’t make it hard. I did. Every time I faced a pose that challenged me – I laid into myself. It took time for me to even realize it. The anger. The frustration. The name-calling. Our bodies can be one big looking-glass distraction. Too much focus on poses can confuse the journey – making some believe that the “mastering” of a pose is proof of enlightenment, one pose closer to God. But the poses are simply a guide. What does a particular pose resonate within us? What does a pose make us see in ourselves? I see now that that first yoga class did not expose me to the world around me. It was something far more intimate. Yoga was simply exposing me to myself. With time, that inner voice has softened from anger to compassion, frustration to acceptance. Like my own practice, that humble yoga school continued to evolve, blossom, and grow. I followed it as it moved into a nearby loft, and, eventually, it outgrew that space too. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s called Jivamukti – liberation while living… Om. Amen.

Jennifer Allen is the author of a memoir, Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach’s Daughter. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and PLAY. She has also reported for NFL Network and NFL Films. A RYT-500, Jennifer teaches yoga to athletes.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM


LIVE WITH LESS BY Michelle Marchildon


used to be sort of a pack rat, and then I was robbed. I don’t mean “robbed,” as in what happened in the Super Bowl. I mean, one minute I had lots of things. The next, I did not.

This is what they took: • My “interview” suit, all my winter clothes, and a pair of kick-ass red cowboy boots • A bathing suit that fit, my favorite jeans, and a to-die-for sequined sweater • Medicines, including birth control (but, hey, I really wasn’t in the mood) • A sentimental gift of a pair of Egyptian scarabs that were made into earrings • An equally sentimental gift of my sweet sixteen diamond earrings In other words, they took pretty much everything I owned – four suitcases in all.

But they also took this: My fear of loss.

After the robbery, I became less attached to things. I learned the lesson of traveling light. I went home and, ironically, gave away most of what I hadn’t packed for that fateful trip. I wanted to shed the clutter and things that didn’t serve me well. Then I bought just a few goods and necessary clothes.

But they also took this: My fear of loss. Before the robbery, I had a different relationship to stuff. I clung to it. I defined myself by it. My brands became my brand. Of course, I have experienced greater hardships in my life. I’ve lost love, innocence, and, at times, hope. But losing my stuff was different. I used to hold onto things the way overeaters might use food to protect themselves from being exposed to the world. There were certain items, like those red cowboy boots, that were coming with me to the next life. Then everything changed.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

I was on my way to a vacation of skiing, dancing and swimming, and then to interview for a job at NBC. My friend picked me up at the airport, and then we made a quick stop downtown. When we opened the trunk of the car, everything was gone. Your guess is as good as mine.

Now I try to live without: • The fear of losing something, because it could happen. • The fear that the future won’t provide, because it usually does. • The fear of losing the past, because it lives in the heart, not the closet.

The ‘Yoga’ Serenity Prayer Universe, grant me strength to go for what is important, Courage to let go of what does not serve, And wisdom to know the difference.

I know this now: We are bigger than our stuff. Yoga shows us that our spirit is not defined by a pair of pants. It soars off the mat. What’s more, eventually I was able to replace some items with something better. Thank you, Universe. However, I never did replace either the scarabs or the red cowboy boots. Perhaps it’s because I have been looking for what I used to have and not for what I have become? This may be the ultimate lesson of letting go. We get to start anew, if we are willing to shed the past and take the risk.

Inspiration brought to you by the Yogi Muse, a real voice in yoga. Michelle Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger with Yoga, and Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga. She is an E-500 RYT based in Denver, CO.

The Heart of a Teacher A Conversation with Maty Ezraty BY sarah ezrin

“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” – William Shakespeare


t a mere five feet tall, Maty commands an attention so present that the air in the room literally changes. Her sapphire saucereyes illuminate with shakti. Every cell of her being embodies yoga.

Maty’s influence on the yoga world is profound. Many of today’s most influential teachers either studied under or worked for Maty.

Sarah Ezrin: The yoga world has vastly changed since you owned YogaWorks. What are your thoughts on what it is today?

takes time to know who you are as a teacher and to be in your own truth. Be patient. Allow it to happen in an organic way.

minds and be more accepting, yet we’re creating these modules that we have to fit into and missing the whole point of yoga.

Maty Ezraty: Yoga is definitely exploding. Yoga is a household name now, but how do we keep it that and still go back to the roots?

And remember what called you into yoga; most likely it was a deep yearning or a deep seeking. Yoga is a lifestyle.

A sign of a true teacher is someone who is not rattled by someone else’s innovation and creativity.

Yoga is a lifestyle, a life choice.

SE: You’ve said that you don’t feel like you fit in with die-hard Ashtangis or Iyengar practitioners. You are indeed a trailblazer. What’s it like forging your own path?

SE: What is your practice nowadays?

Our challenge as a community is to help students see the bigger picture of yoga. It begins with that student walking in the door thinking they are going to do exercise and, as teachers, helping them find something much deeper. Yoga is a revolution inside ourselves. SE: What advice do you have for new teachers?

ME: I never thought of it as anything other than natural. I’ve always been able to understand more than one thing as working. I totally see why Iyengar does certain things and I’m able to see why the Ashtanga method was the root seed for so many different styles of yoga today.

ME: Be the teacher you want to be now. Don’t wait.

People are unique and I like to feel each person. I’m not a follower. When you give me a recipe, I never follow it. I just can’t do that.

Be students. Keep studying – and not just asana.

SE: Was it hard not fitting into a specific mold?

Sometimes, for newer teachers, it may be helpful to start part-time until it really gels. It

ME: No, it bores me. [laughs] I guess what’s hard is that we are doing yoga to open our

ME: I still do my Ashtanga, but it’s slower, softer. I’m not as hard on myself. I allow other influences to come into my practice. I don’t let the series dictate what I do; it’s just a map. And I also meditate more. SE: What is your favorite thing about teaching? ME: I really like people and I like all kinds of people. When somebody tunes in, when there’s a spark inside of them for life, that makes me excited. Seeing people light up. Seeing people feel a little better about themselves. Human contact.

Currently Maty lives on the Big Island of Hawaii and travels the world leading teacher trainings and workshops.

Photo: James WvinneR M A N T R A M A G . C OM


The Bhagavad Gita B ob We i s e n ber g The Bhagavad Gita is one of three core ancient texts of yoga. It has a reputation for being difficult, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little upfront help and some effort on your part, you can develop a close personal relationship with this timeless work, connecting the wisdom of the “Gita” to your everyday life. As an introduction, it’s really helpful to understand the Gita’s major themes first, instead of just diving in. Take a look at this discussion outline that I use in my Bhagavad Gita workshops:

The Main Message

Overcoming Obstacles

Live and act with love and purpose, detaching ego from results.

Initial Turn-Offs Why Is the Gita So Upsetting At First?

Experience infinite wonder in all things. Focus the mind.

The Battlefield Setting “Gandhi’s Bible” or a Call to War?

Each of us is already infinitely wondrous— miraculous, awe-inspiring, unfathomable (“divine,” if you prefer).

Is the Gita Asking Us to Repress Our Emotions? “Witness Consciousness”

Our wondrous nature is the same as the infinite wonder of the universe. We experience this infinite wonder by waking up to reality.

Where Do We Fit In? Does the Infinitely Wondrous Universe Give a Damn About You and Me?

Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks

Yoga is Universal, Loving, and Direct

Yoga of Understanding

Yoga is Universal Truth, Embracing All Gods and All Paths.

Yoga of Meditation Is Love Itself the Overriding Theme of the Bhagavad Gita? Yoga of Love Yoga of Action

The Gita contains many powerful passages on each of these themes, but they are scattered throughout the text. When you read the passages by theme, these main ideas jump off the page with crystalline clarity. I’ve made that easier for you by matching up the big ideas of the Gita with the best quotations and the related Gita talks. For each of the major themes above, you can see the most powerful passages on that topic. Go to and click on “Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell” at the top. It’s a great revelation to read the Gita by these major themes instead of in the order it’s written. Then when you read the text all the way through, you are much better able to understand and enjoy it.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Yoga calls for direct experience and straightforward wisdom (over scripture, dogma, and ritual).

I have personally read the Gita over and over again, experiencing, thinking, absorbing, sifting, experiencing again, sifting again, etc. It has truly been its own reward—the Gita helps me lead a better life every day. If my work helps you “get” the Gita, so much the better.

Bob Weisenberg is Editor of Best of Yoga Philosophy and former Yoga Editor & Assoc. Publisher of elephant journal. He created the popular and long-running Bhagavad Gita discussion series Gita Talk on elephant journal. He is the author of Yoga Demystified (also available as a free e-book) and Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell, as well as co-editor of Yoga in America and a contributor to The Poetry of Yoga.

the shape of

YOUR BODY Yoga Asana Holds and Creates Meaning

Susanna Harwood Rubin

Think of the way in which you begin your practice. You sit, you close your eyes, you turn toward your breath. You connect with what is happening right here, right now in your body on an overt level and on a cellular level. You do this because the way in which you begin your practice creates the space for the meaning that arises from it. Join intention to action. Link breath to movement. Take shape to form content. This is what you are doing right now. This is why this practice is more than what you once imagined yoga might be. Perhaps the first time you rolled out your mat you were looking for exercise, relaxation, more openness in the muscles and tissues of your body, and all of that happened. But maybe a week or even a year later, you realized that other things were happening as well: a sense of well-being, of connectivity within yourself and to your world, contentment, awareness, meaning.

“In yoga, form creates meaning. Add the breath, your intelligence, your awareness, and your intention. The shape of your body becomes meaning unto itself.” Your life was suddenly different in a way that caused you to release some things you were attached to in order to allow newer, more persistently alive things to take root and blossom. You brushed some dusty or decayed stuff out of the way to expose new growth. The landscape of you was now different. You moved into a springtime of the soul. But how did this happen? There are infinite particular ways in which to answer this question, but let’s begin with yoga asana, because this is how most of us arrived at where we are now. For countless mysterious and hardto-pin-down reasons, yoga asana holds and creates meaning. When we take the shape of a pose, we adopt a set of boundaries. Within those boundaries, we can have a vast range of experiences

activated by the shape of that individual asana and our relationship to it. We can focus on the breath and how it creates space within the body. We can focus on how a biomechanical adjustment creates a consequent emotional shift. We can focus on how our intention pulses through the body in the context of this specific shape, this particular configuration. In Down Dog. In an arm balance. In Tadasana. In yoga, form creates meaning. Add the breath, your intelligence, your awareness, and your intention. The shape of your body becomes meaning unto itself.

Susanna lives in NYC and teaches at Virayoga, Abhaya Yoga, on StudioLiveTV, and internationally. Off the mat she writes for the Huffington Post, elephant journal, Origin, Rebelle Society, YOGANONYMOUS, and more. She created Writing Your Practice writing workshops for yogis, and draws her heart out in her studio.

Photos: Jeremy Patlen M A N T R A M A G . C OM


BY Catherine Ghosh

the blossoming



oga is all about opening. At the beginning of our journey we resemble a tight little bud. Then, as we move deeper into our practice, we loosen, and our petals gradually begin to unfurl. From hip openers to heart openers, we use our breath and body to unlock deeper parts of who we are, and let go of the parts we aren’t. It is much easier to do this in the company of others whose hearts are oriented in the same direction. As our bodies begin to open, so does our consciousness. While cultivating a broader vision of ourselves and of life, we naturally gravitate toward those who will nourish and inspire our yoga practice. As it takes many flowers in a garden to attract more bees, it takes a whole community, or sanga, of yoga practitioners to really buzz with inspiration.

who broke out of limiting cultural rules to immerse themselves in their yoga, even though, at the time, women in India were shunned and condemned for leaving their homes at night without a male guardian. But the Gopis did so anyway, casting fears aside.

Through chanting mantras, forming mudras, and entering into asanas with their bodies, the Gopis absorbed themselves in deep meditations that sent them into ecstatic experiences of dancing with the divine source of eternity “To this day, the (sat), awareness (cit), and bliss (ananda), known as feminine symbol Krishna in the Bhakti tradition.

of a lotus flower continues to adorn yoga circles as a reminder of our purest essence.”

The ancient Bhagavata Purana poetically describes the fully blossomed lotus flower of the dancing Gopis as dripping with padma-madhu, or nectar that was so fragrant, it drew in the divine, or Krishna, as if he were a bumblebee.

According to yoga texts, the most celebrated sanga of yoga practitioners was all female! Thousands of years ago, in India, in the village of Vrindavan, this group of women congregated in the woods on full moon nights to practice yoga. Drawing inspiration from one another, they released their voices into sweet and melodious kirtans as they danced in an enormous circle, or mandala. This circle of women is depicted as a blossoming lotus.

To this day, the feminine symbol of a lotus flower continues to adorn yoga circles as a reminder of our purest essence. But the lotus especially reminds us of how empowering practicing yoga among others who inspire us can be. So seek out the nectar! For it is in the sweet company of other yoga practitioners that we really allow our lotus to bloom.

In the yoga tradition, the symbol of a lotus represents our very beings, or atmans. Our yoga practice challenges us to allow our awareness to blossom despite any obstacles that may present themselves. This group of accomplished yoginis, also know as Gopis, were inspired risk-takers,

Catherine L. Ghosh, RYT, is co-founder of The Secret Yoga, contributing editor at Integral Yoga Magazine and a practitioner of Bhakti Yoga since 1986. An artist, mother, naturalist, free spirit and devoted servant of the Goddess, she publishes women’s spiritual poetry at Journey of The Heart.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

rob i N m art i n

Instagram. I had heard of it – I understood it was a social media site where people shared photos. That was about all I knew until someone mentioned Instagram in conjunction with yoga. My curiosity was piqued! Little did I know that once I downloaded the Instagram app last April and began to share my yoga journey, my life would forever be changed. As it turns out, there is a huge, very active yoga community on Instagram. People have come together in this modern-day digital forum to share photos and now 15-second videos of yoga poses, mini flows, and inspirational messages. I was excited to get involved, but a little apprehensive at first. Would sharing photos in yoga poses be seen as too self-promotional or “not very yogic” among my peers? As a yoga teacher, I felt this was an important consideration, and I was ready to find out. I began sharing my yoga passion via Instagram in April 2013. I was a little slow to figure out

hashtags and grasp the concept of followers. After a little time and participation in some “Yoga Challenges,” I got the hang of things. In a challenge, an Instagram yogi will offer a specific pose or pose concept to try and anyone can participate. This proved to be a great jumping-off point. Sharing photos of my yoga practice on Instagram meant documenting my yoga – nearly daily – something I had not done before. The more I looked at my poses through my lense (okay, my iPhone camera), the more I noticed where I needed to adjust my alignment. I was not only improving my own practice, I was seeing incredibly inspirational photos of poses that were brand new to me – photos of poses taken from interesting perspectives that would have never occurred to me. I was suddenly taking my practice outside into beautiful spaces and moving through poses not typically part of my practice. Editing my photos, creating art with my body, and sharing without fear of judgment. In just a few months, I was following and being followed by

a wonderful, amazing group of inspiring yogis – yogis that have inspired thousands of people to try yoga for the very first time. This seemingly virtual yoga community goes beyond the high tech “devices.” People are constantly connecting. Events such as “Fam Jam” have brought hundreds of Instagram yogis together. I communicate daily with a group of women that I would have otherwise never met. We share a common bond in yoga, but there is so much more. These women inspire me with their stories, their struggles, their journeys. They are @Pocketdwarf, @CherlyD126, @Yulady, @LauraSykora, @Vic_Yogaintheworld, @Alexisr022, @silver_cloudss. We call it group therapy. While I am sure I still have some peers questioning my participation in the Instagram Yoga phenomenon, maybe they will now have a better understanding of why. I am here because I am a part of this amazing, supportive, inspiring community. I am @robinmartinyoga. Join me on my journey.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


True beauty is in the clarity of being alone with my questions.

ELENA BROWER Author, Art of Attention; Founder, VIRAYOGA, New York, NY True beauty is in the clarity of being alone with my questions.

Photo: Chloe Crespi

Tiffany Cruikshank Yoga Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist True beauty radiates from deep inside. It can’t be created or covered with concealer or lipstick. It’s our ability to connect with the people around us with compassion, bravely exposing our hearts to radiate our passion back out to the world. It’s a glow that can’t be created any other way than by living the life you were designed for and reflecting the love you’ve been given. Photo: Jasper Johal

It’s a glow that can’t be created any other way than by living the life you were designed for and reflecting the love you’ve been given.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

stacey rosenberg

laura king

chelsea hover

True beauty is an essence that is unleashed from within. I find beauty in people who are comfortable with themselves, generous, and who share their passion with the world. Society does not value such beauty. Mainstream media builds a culture around superficial qualities and then gangs up when someone’s flaws are exposed. Genuine beauty is the fire of authentic humanity that burns in each of our hearts.

Owner/Director of Training, North Texas Yoga, Mckinney, TX I find beauty in the smile of my daughter, the eyes of my husband, and the breeze that rushes past my skin on a walk through nature. To me, beauty is more of a reflection of my own mindset than anything else. There is beauty to be found in each individual and every moment. We simply have to open ourselves up to every experience to recognize that true beauty is within. Photo: Photo By Faern Photo: Joy Zhang

amy halman

Yoga Teacher/Humanitarian/International Yoga & Seva Retreat Leader. Yoga with Chelsea. Austin, TX True beauty cannot be achieved at a makeup counter or spa. It’s not about size or skin tone. It’s not something you can buy, sell, or put on. It comes from within, a bi-product of aligning with the flow of life. Beauty is in letting the Divine shine through you, and move you, without apology or restraint. The way to true beauty is to look into the reflection of your own eyes and say, “I love you.”

President + Formulator, ACURE, Ft. Lauderdale, FL True beauty is following a passion, having a voice and awareness that you have a unique impact in the world. Aggressive skin issues covered my face and neck all through my young adult life. Something so visible stripped my self-worth. One day, a friend said, “The first thing I notice every time you walk through that door is your smile.” It’s not perfection, but an authentic pride in your own value that captivates. Photo: Fred Williams, Asanapix

To me, beauty is more of a reflection of my own mindset than anything else. There is beauty to be found in each individual and every moment. We simply have to open ourselves up to every experience to recognize that true beauty is within.

leigh bantivoglio

UnCaged Network, Santa Monica, CA

On January 2, 2007, I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and overnight, my life changed. Goodbye four-inch heels, pizza, and 6AM spin classes. Hello flats, green juice, and graded exercise. This was a major blow to my fashion designer identity. Unknowingly, I had relied on outside stuff to define me. I knew I had to change from the inside out if I was going to get better. Gradually, I transformed my beliefs and attitudes towards myself and others. My body demanded that I exercise for my own inner warrior and not thin thighs. Looking back seven years later, getting a chronic illness was the best thing that has happened to me. I have faith in myself, know what the mind/body connection actually means, and feel totally empowered. I love my new life!

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


SHARON PINGATORE Mamaste Connections, NJ My stretch marks defined me for many years. I was ashamed and embarrassed by how my body looked. I imagined (or did I?) looks of disdain – I wasted so much time on that. Now, in my 50s, I am embracing my flaws. My marks on my stomach are no longer a source of shame. Instead, they are a constant reminder of the four gifts I was blessed with. They are my badges of honor. To quote one of my heroes, Patti Smith, “I am the warrior...”


CHRISTINA SELL Live the Light of Yoga Programs, San Marcos, TX I first felt my own beauty when I was 18 years old. I was on a backpacking trek in Joshua Tree National Monument. Covered in days of sweat and dirt, with no mirrors to look at, but only majestic rocks and wide-open desert vistas, I felt my beauty inside, not in reference to an outer image. On that day, I knew for certain that beauty is a state of being.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Photos: Sherry Sutton Photography

SIANNA SHERMAN Global Yoga Teacher, Founder of Mythic Yoga Flow, Los Angeles, California True beauty is soul beauty. It’s the kind of beauty that burrows through the layers of low selfesteem and determines to reveal itself in spite of outer definition. I was haunted by the stubbornness of freckles on my face. I covered them up with thick foundation that clogged my pores and made me look plastic. Now I know they are the wild magic of the stars dancing on my skin! Photo: Bill Tipper

gina marie dunn

gina murdock

Artist/Yoga Instructor, Equinox, Exhale, We Yogis, Dallas, TX The word “beauty” comes from the Latin word “beatus,” which means “happy or blessed.” It is deep within the psyche, the soul, the character and the very core of our being. When we actively choose to love ourselves and others, and shine a light for someone whose path is not lit, we awaken its potential. It manifests through intellect, passion, kindness, and poise, and has a ripple effect. Its power is transformative, limitless, and can change the world.

Founder, Aspen Yoga Society, Aspen, CO True beauty is instinct. When I see a deer or a fox out my window, I see this intensity. There is no question. It is this vibration of being that I rarely see in humans; we are so busy thinking and being distracted from what is. True beauty is hearing that voice or seeing that posture in a person that demonstrates that level of being. It doesn’t matter what they look like; it is what they are that can truly take my breath away. I know if I can see that beauty in them, I have it in me. That is beautiful. Photo: Danielle Doby

SHERRY GINGRAS Drumz store owner, drum teacher/performer, Austin, TX True beauty isn’t something I look for in mirrors at 64. It isn’t lost or diminished by age. It simply lives in my heart as passion and reflects through other means. And I’m relentless in my conviction and courage to trust that who I am on the inside can and must radiate from within to the outside, through everything I do and everything I am, to realize uncompromised true beauty. PHOTO: Todd Wolfson

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


NOAH MAZE Creator YOGAMAZÉ, Los Angeles, CA True beauty is honest, courageous, strong, vulnerable, and fragile. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Authenticity is a practice, like the practice of yoga asana. If the pose is unfamiliar, it does not “feel” like me. I practice anything unfamiliar to make it mine, or to distinguish what does not belong to me. Occupy yourself. Love others for who they are.

True beauty is honest, courageous, strong, vulnerable, and fragile.

KRISTIN MCGEE I believe true beauty is having a positive attitude. People who have a cheery outlook are radiant inside and out. It’s not always easy to look on the bright side; it’s something that takes work. A good relationship requires work; developing a positive attitude is like having a good relationship with yourself. When I smile inside and out and see the glass as half full, I feel truly beautiful. Photo: Chris Fanning

I believe true beauty is having a positive attitude. People who have a cheery outlook are radiant inside and out.


Yoga teacher, writer, mom to elves, CT

The most beautiful people to me are those that approach life from a place of humor. In order to laugh at oneself and to joke with others, we have to live with self-acceptance. Someone who approaches difficult situations with a chuckle, spends time making others smile, and laughs at herself radiates beauty. I believe it is impossible to think of someone funny or laughing as not truly beautiful. Photo: Nancy Alder

The most beautiful people to me are those that approach life from a place of humor.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

True beauty to me is about freedom. Take the time in life to give yourself the freedom to explore who you are and what you love. Take that and weave it all into your everyday life, so you can experience joy every day in what you do.

SHANEY JO DARDEN Founder, The Keep A Breast Foundation True beauty to me is about freedom. Take the time in life to give yourself the freedom to explore who you are and what you love. Take that and weave it all into your everyday life, so you can experience joy every day in what you do. I feel most beautiful when I’m truly happy and surrounded by beauty and loved ones. Photo: Lauren Ward

DANA DAMARA As a teenager, I was teased for my solid thighs and small breasts. I ran miles trying to trim my thighs and contemplated breast implants for years! What I’ve learned is that true beauty is loving your body as it is and taking care of it from the inside out and being kind in how you feed it with healthy food, appropriate exercise, but most importantly, loving and gracious thoughts. Photo: Brian Mcdonnell,

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


RICKY TRAN BBA, E-RYT, CBA, yogi and husband, Dallas, TX I think true beauty is the quality or aggregate qualities of a person or thing that brings pleasure to the senses, mind, and heart, regardless of circumstances. These qualities can be found in male or female, young or old, healthy or sick, wealthy or poor, black or white, green or purple. These qualities are strength, courage, gentleness, compassion, intelligence, creativity, gratitude, and love. Photo: Joy Neville Photography

I think true beauty is the quality or aggregate qualities of a person or thing that brings pleasure to the senses, mind, and heart, regardless of circumstances.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

ANDREA MARCUM U Studio Yoga, Los Angeles, CA I was a competitive gymnast as a teenager. We performed physical feats that required us to be built like boys. I had a horrible Dorothy Hamill haircut, silver braces on my buckteeth, and it didn’t help that I was called “Andy.” One summer while visiting NYC, I wandered into the ladies’ room in Central Park. “Oh, the little boys’ room is around the corner,” someone shouted in my direction. I ran outside and burst into tears. Without missing a beat, my mother took me by the hand and stormed back in. “This is my daughter and she is beautiful,” she thundered. It was then I realized that true beauty is strength, courage, and love. Photo: Fluid Frame

KINO MACGREGOR Founder, Kino Yoga & Miami Life Center, Miami Beach, FL Beauty has intrinsic value for me and I honor it in my life. I like beautiful things and enjoy making myself look beautiful. Beauty for me is material, spiritual, energetic, and emotional, and I value it deeply. Beauty is the experience of life at its best, a perfect sunrise after a dark night, a rainbow after a torrential downpour, generosity amidst suffering, and strength through adversity. Beauty is the awe-inspiring harmony of Beethoven’s symphonies, the mouth-watering taste of a ripe mango, the feeling in your heart from a smile. Some people might consider me superficial to value beauty, but for me beauty is the magic of life. Photo: John Miller,

karen fabian

Andrea Guendelman Co-Founder DisruptHER Productions, Boulder, CO For me, beauty means having an inner creative passion. Beauty is not about someone else’s gaze, but about an inner drive to see the world afresh and remake it anew. Beauty also involves recognizing and sparking that creativity in others. A beautiful person is both inspired and inspiring. Great beauty emanates from tension: being calm, centered, and at peace, but also seeking, striving, longing, and venturing. I think of beauty not as an “is” but as a “becoming.”

Beauty is not about someone else’s gaze, but about an inner drive to see the world afresh and remake it anew.

Founder, Bare Bones Yoga, Boston, MA

True beauty is belief in yourself and letting your beauty come from a place deep inside. It isn’t something you put on, like makeup or clothes, and it isn’t something you can buy. It’s being authentic and feeling comfortable in your body, regardless of age. It’s sharing love with everyone you meet and giving from the heart in all that you do.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


AMANDA MILLS Yogini & Proprietor of Amanda Mills Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA Despite what the world and media try to tell us, true beauty is not what we see in the mirror. True beauty is not how much I weigh or the color of my eyes or hair. True beauty is how we see ourselves and others brought about by our own perception. My true beauty comes from a far deeper place: a deep and loving concern for all beings and a passion for life. Truly beautiful people do not just happen; they find their beauty along the way. True beauty is revealed only if there is light that shines from within. Photo: Dan Steinberg

JODI BLEA VP, Partnerships, Wanderlust, New York, NY The word “beauty” is influenced from the old Latin word “beatus,” which means “happy or blessed.” Exterior beauty is meaningless without truth, goodness, character, and being comfortable within your own skin. Maybe it’s Maybelline, but more likely it’s your mantra.


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

Truly beautiful people do not just happen; they find their beauty along the way. True beauty is revealed only if there is light that shines from within.

sami lea lipman Mantra & ORIGIN Creative Director, Yoga Teacher, Chief Creative Officer of Shaktee Apparel True beauty is full self-expression – creatively and ecstatically. It is looking inward without fear, and seeing your body as an ally rather than as a barrier. Photo: clayton aynesworth


Yoga Ways to Avoid Suffering

cla u d i a az u la alt u cher

veryone wants to have a peaceful life. I know I do. I hope you do. Recognizing the key signs of a peaceful life is the first step in creating a “now” that will result in a better future – one moment at a time. The Yoga Sutras say in #2.16 that, “all future pain should be avoided.” How can we do that? By catching it in the now! For example, we know the type of seeds we are planting with our behavior. Unless totally unconscious, we always can tell if what we are about to say or do will cause pain. Here are the seven yoga ways to help us notice as we go.

1. Consider and Clean Up the Obstacles Yoga sutra 1.30 lists the obstacles that arise on the inner journey: illness, dullness, doubt, negligence, laziness, cravings, misperceptions, failure, and instability. All of these come with the territory and they make wonderful teachers. For example, illness can be avoided by better diet and practicing yoga poses, dullness avoided by pranayama, and doubt avoided by faith or by reading sacred texts.

“the sutras tell us to be friendly to the friendly, compassionate towards those who suffer, to offer goodwill towards the virtuous and cultivate indifference towards those who are wicked.” I find it enlightening how this sutra is so down to earth when it comes to those people who will try to suck the life out of you. What about them? The sutras use just one word: ignore.

4. No Gossip Gossip implies a misunderstanding of the power of words. Words are spells; let’s use them well in this moment.

2. Avoid Sarcasm I coined the phrase, “that sounds corny.” You didn’t know? Thankfully, I have realized that sarcasm is how the ego keeps me small, insignificant, and unhappy. So, I have released it and make it a practice to continue to do so.

3. Negative People Out When it comes to relationships, the sutras tell us to be friendly to the friendly, compassionate towards those who suffer, to offer goodwill towards the virtuous and cultivate indifference towards those who are wicked (1.33).

When I feel like indulging, I look at what is under it. What is it that I expect? Do I want to feel important? Am I really that cut off from the thread of well-being?

5. No Complaining Nothing will suck the energy out of your life like complaining. It spirals you down into negative, dangerous, depressive places. It’s a deceiving tool with ZERO solutions. What happens when we stop complaining? We see opportunity…take right action…Magic!

6. Telling The Truth If we lie – for whatever reason, to please, to be liked, to look like we are cool – we will resent it eventually. Resentment is a sure way to cause pain for you, me, and everyone else. We need to appreciate who we are and respect our truth. And also, stay away from radical honesty. If it hurts others, it’s not honesty, it’s only pretend-honesty.

7. Surrendering May I be the channel for your work, may my words be your words, may thy will be done. I climb out of hell and into heaven on Earth right now. Enough said.

Claudia Azula Altucher is an author and teacher of yoga. Her second book, The Power Of No, will be released by Hay House in June of 2014.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Gina Murdock Founder, Aspen Yoga Society

I n t er v i e w: L i s a R u e f f


Executive Director, Do It For the Love Foundation

Lisa Rueff: What inspired you to create the Aspen Yoga Society (AYS)? Gina Murdock: I felt that the yoga community in the Roaring Fork Valley was somewhat fragmented. Yoga is union. I thought we could do better. LR: What is at the heart of the AYS? GM: Union. We use yoga as a way to bring people together and to bring awareness to different causes that are important locally and globally. We have become a catalyst to unite yoga teachers and studios of all kinds; it’s awesome! LR: How did you go about creating the AYS? GM: I had a dream, then created a website, and then it existed. I think a lot of people get held up on starting something because they don’t know how. The most important thing you can do is start and see where it goes. If it adds value, it will grow. LR: What is the main purpose of the AYS? GM: We exist to support the local teachers and studios and to create a conduit to work together for the greater good. We do that through events, workshops, social media campaigns, etc. LR: Do you see a shift in your community from competition to collaboration?


M A N T R A M A G . C OM

GM: I do. There have been some really sweet moments of collaboration that were actually surprising, mostly in teachers coming together from different studios and recognizing each other’s gifts. We’ve found that we have a lot to offer here locally if we choose to support each other, and we don’t always have to bring in big names from the outside to make things work. Yogis and studios tend to get competitive when there is an attitude of scarcity. We try to bring in the feeling of abundance and love. My absolute favorite thing is group hugs. Some people may suspect I started AYS as an elaborate plan to create more group hugging opportunities… It’s possible. LR: Who are your greatest influences or inspirations? GM: Off The Mat Into The World – Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, Suzanne Sterling and Kerri Kelly were great influences for me in the beginning. I went to an OTM training and met some incredible people; it gave me a turbo charge and an answer to the question, “What

would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” I decided to do it. What’s the worst thing that could happen? And, Lisa Rueff, who uses yoga to raise money for great causes! LR: What advice would you give to somebody who wants to create a Yoga Society in their hometown, unifying the community together as you have done? GM: Go DO! Keep a positive attitude. If the organization is really for the greater good, remember that and bring a sense of humility and service to the work. These are qualities I find lacking in the yoga community, which is ironic if you are familiar with the core teachings of yoga. It’s not about getting famous or having a DVD, it’s about giving back, and I’ve found a lot of joy in that.

Finding My True Heart

in the Himalayas Joa n H y m a n

After leading a two-week yoga retreat, traveling, and guiding eighteen Westerners through India, I took some private time in an ashram in Kunjapuri up in the Himalayas, where a wise swami named Yogi Arwind lives. When I came to this ashram, my energy was low, and I needed a place to rest and re-fuel. The moment I met Yogi Arwind, I knew I was in the right place. This yogi chose to live up in the Himalayas, free of pollutants and toxic energies, for maximum prana consumption. Prana is the vital energy we and all living things get from the sun, from breathing in air. His generosity touched me deeply and I want to share what he taught me.

Take care of your Self and accept everyone for where they are in their lives. I asked him how to deal with the new urban competitive yoga industry, where it seems everyone is challenging each other instead of supporting one another on our selfless journeys. “Everyone comes on to the path of yoga from different experiences and karmas in their lives. Accept their path, for that is their path, not yours. Take care of your higher Self, for that is what you should pay most attention to.”

Get out of your own way. We need a healthy ego. However, it can keep us from enlightenment. “Learn to let things go. As humans, we get stuck in experiences that have already happened. Our ego holds on to pain and anger and prevents us from moving forward in life. Let it go and continue to flow.” I asked him about anger, and our negative reactions to situations. He said that most of the time these disturbed feelings are coming from our ego, and it’s important to recognize that. We should feel our anger and process what we are feeling to help develop a better understanding of the situation at hand and to not be so reactive, which can pull us into a negative place.

“No, there is nothing that is bad in this world. If that is what makes them happy, let it be so.”

Accept everyone and hold no judgment. Yogi Arwind gives to everyone. He sees people on the street and gives them money. I asked, “Aren’t you afraid they will take your money and buy drugs and alcohol?” “No, there is nothing that is bad in this world. If that is what makes them happy, let it be so.” I asked, “What about people who are addicted?” “Accept them for where they are, and let them feel safe with you. If you give them love and help them fill up that void, their attention will transfer to something else. If you go in with judgment, they will contract and not let you in.”

Yoga is about service, so give! Yogi lives his whole life in service. His foundation promotes the cleaning up of the Ganga (or Ganges River), the donation of blankets to survivors of the recent Himalayan floods, and much more. Unconditional giving opens our hearts and creates a deeper sense of interconnectedness with the world around us. It becomes no longer only about me. I see how living in service gives me a sense of purpose, helping me to see the bigger picture and develop compassion for others instead of living in strife. Why not help each other out and raise the world’s positive vibrations through learning to give truly from your heart and love everyone? A yogi shall “give” all that he is worthy of. This, to me, is the true heart of a yogi.

M A N T R A M A G . C OM


Mantra - Issue 3  
Mantra - Issue 3